UK rail companies are working together under the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to adopt stricter transparency measures regarding train punctuality in a bid to improve rail services across the country.
The new benchmark will see rail operators report the number of trains arriving at destinations ‘to the minute’ in order to assess the punctuality of their services.
The existing government measure considers a train ‘on time’ if it reaches the destination five or ten minutes after schedule.
RDG's new rule will also analyse the punctuality of the trains during arrival at individual stations, rather than only considering the time taken to reach the final station on a given route.
The new standards of rail punctuality have been developed with the assistance of independent rail watchdog Transport Focus.
Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said: “By adopting the most transparent measure in Europe, we want passengers to know that rail companies are putting an even greater focus on ensuring that trains are meeting the timetable, arriving to the minute and at stations along a journey.
“We are pushing ourselves to drive better punctuality because it will help to deliver a more reliable railway for the whole of Britain.
“Combined with the £50bn-plus railway upgrade plan, which will lead to 6,400 extra services a week by 2021, these new measures will help to build a better railway now and for the long term.”
RDG reported that in the most recent four week period between 28 May and 24 June, nearly 91.7% of trains arrived within five minutes of the scheduled time, with 64.8% of trains reaching their destination to the minute.
The figures are published at a national level, while data for individual train operators is expected to be published on the companies' respective websites by April.
Network Rail is expected to use the new standards as the official measure of punctuality from April 2019 when its next funding period begins, along with various other benchmarks.