Query Corner

Q14.17. Minutes Lost in Railway Incidents Causing Delays to Trains.

The RO often reports serious delays and a number of the news items include the actual number of minutes lost by the affected trains. Presumably contributors have access to these figures, but which body collects the figures and how the statistics are arrived at? Also, why are they always expressed in minutes rather than hours and minutes?


Q14.17. Minutes Lost in Railway Incidents Causing Delays to Trains. Part of the question is "which body collects the figures", the answer being Network Rail and TOCs. NR employs 'delay attribution' teams to sort out how many minutes are lost to each cause, including 'knock on' delays elsewhere from the incident, and then bill the relevant parties for the losses (including, effectively, internal billing for NR-caused delays). The TOCs employ their own people to audit the figures and challenge them if necessary. There is a cross-industry Delay Attribution Board that sets the standards, methods of calculating the figures, etc. Now, that's the commercial side. The control offices and operations managers also collate the figures. Each incident is recorded in the daily logs, which are generally made available to the industry the following day. For each incident the logs record what happened at what time, and the time of any subsequent actions (e.g. points failure, time technicians arrive on site, time safety possession granted, time repair completed, time possession given up, etc.) I suspect that the delay minutes quoted in the RO come from these logs. Figures are given in minutes because many incidents do not reach an hour's worth of delay. By keeping the units the same it is much easier to compare very quickly the relative impact of incidents. For example it is obvious that 90 minutes is twice 45 minutes, but 1 hour 30 minutes needs a mental calculation to convert it to 90 minutes first. (PD:20844)

last updated: 04/11/14