Labour raises concerns over potential disruption during the festive season on train routes following unprecedented compensations for delays.

November saw the highest ever number of payments to passengers for delayed services for three rail companies, which could result in potential “Christmas chaos” on trains, according to Labour.

Avanti West Coast, Great Western Railway (GWR), and East Midlands Railway all surpassed their previous records for payouts to passengers for delayed services last month, surpassing pre-Covid levels, Labour stated.

Labour described the official figures for train punctuality and repayments, which passengers are entitled to for delays beyond a certain length, as a gloomy warning for Christmas delays.

The analysis of data from the Office of Rail and Road by Labour revealed that from July to September, Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railways, and GWR had the worst punctuality records. During that period, Avanti managed to run only 46.3% of its services on time.

Additional figures showed that in the year leading up to November 2021, Avanti West Coast, GWR, and East Midlands Railway experienced year-on-year increases of 128%, 123%, and 11% respectively in successful delay repayment claims.

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, criticized the government for the record delays and cancellations, calling for the railways to be brought back into public ownership. She stated that Labour will ensure services work in the best interest of the passenger once contracts expire.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport highlighted the increased government funding and performance levels in the rail sector post-pandemic. They mentioned ongoing strike action and outdated work practices as impacting the industry and stated that operators will be held accountable if they let passengers down.

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