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Rail passengers lose fifty four million hours per year

28 June 2017

RMT Press Office:

Rail passengers suffer equivalent of fifty four million hours in wasted time a year due to train company and infrastructure failures.

Rail passengers suffer equivalent of fifty four million hours in wasted time a year due to train company and infrastructure failures

New research by rail union RMT has found that approximately fifty four million hours, the equivalent to 6154 years, of passengers time are wasted each year due to delays on the rail network caused by train operating company and infrastructure and failures.

The research comes as passengers brace themselves for an announcement on 15 August of eye watering fare rises. This is the when the Retail Price Inflation fare increases for 2018 are announced and all forecasts predict an increasing trend to around 4 per cent.

Unveiling the figures at the union’s AGM in Exeter this morning, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“In a few weeks passengers will be told that their fares are to go up in the region of 4% and the Train Operators will claim this further rip off is necessary to fund investment.

“The reality of our fragmented, profit driven industry is a network starved of the necessary investment leading to a scale back of essential rail maintenance and renewals resulting in massive delays for passengers.

"These figures tell the real story of the actual impact of these delays, not only on passengers but also the economy as a whole.”


Notes for editors
The data is taken from 2015 – 2016 ORR/Network delay attribution data, see below:
The lost time figures are an underestimate as they are derived from Network Rail and Office of Rail and Road (ORR) figures attributing causes for delays. The ORR does not currently produce its own comprehensive information lost passenger time.

This figure is calculated by determining the average delay per service nationally, and attributing that delay to each passenger journey. Due to the lack of data available, it contains assumptions. For example, it does not differentiate between peak and off-peak journey times, or working days and weekend days. The time at which a delay occurs would obviously impact on different numbers of passengers. 

All figures are for year 2015-16, sources Network Rail and the Office of Rail & Road



Total delay minutes

13684294 minutes

Total number of planned services


Total passenger journeys





Total delays (minutes)

13684294 minutes

AVERAGE DELAY MINUTES PER SERVICE (total delays divided by total passenger services)

1.885675198 minutes


3234498667 minutes

HOURS (divided by 60)


DAYS (divided by 24)


YEARS   (divided by 365)


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Tagged with: orr, office of rail and road, tocs, train operating companies, network rail