Report of Caroline Whittam, Head of Rail Services, TfGM.
That the report be noted.
Simon Elliott, Head of Rail Programme, TfGM provided an update to members on rail service and operation across Greater Manchester over rail periods five and six for 2021/22 (25 July – 18 September 2021) following the removal of all remaining Covid restrictions in England on 19 July 2021.
Operational performance during the period for all train operating companies serving Greater Manchester was reported to be good and remained consistent. Reported PPM for Northern and TPE was above 90% and Right Time at Destination figures of around 70%. Cancellations stayed relatively low, at between 3% - 4% for Northern and TPE, although higher for the longer distance operators, notably East Midlands Railway.
Train services in the period were reduced at the end of July/beginning of August by Avanti West Coast and Northern, as a direct result of exponential rises in Covid isolation alerts and crew availability. Services were subsequently re-introduced on 16 August for Avanti and 6 September for Northern. Following the re-instatement, overall service levels were currently at around 82% of pre-Covid, reflecting those last seen, albeit briefly in December 2020, before the third national lockdown was introduced.
Nationally, patronage was reported between 65-70% of pre-Covid which indicated that rail services in the Northwest were recovering more notably than other areas driven mainly by the leisure market.
It was advised that face covering compliance on services had significantly decreased since the last report from approximately 35% to 10-15% and observance was higher in the morning peak of the City Centre and on longer distance services.
Plans for Christmas services had not been finalised, but it was anticipated they were likely to follow a similar pattern to previous years; with earlier finishes on Christmas and New Year’s Eves, no GM services on Christmas Day or Boxing Day and some later starts during the interim period and New Year’s Day, followed by a normal service. Bank holidays Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 would see a standard service, albeit with some early morning services not running.
The Committee were informed that from 1 October until 12 December, a fleet of seven Network Rail vehicles would be deployed across the network clearing leaves and treating tracks to reduce adhesion problems caused by compacted leaf-mulch.
The response to the Manchester Recovery Task Force consultation which took place between 14 January and 10 March 2021 had been published by government and the next stage of this process would be a detailed operator timetable consultation for the timetable to be operated in 2022 and was due to be launched imminently.
Members were advised that TfGM were continuing to work with local communities and station groups on various projects in the region. Furthermore, TfGM were supporting the creation of a Community Rail Partnership on Manchester to Liverpool routes to fully exploit the leisure, economic and social opportunities which exist along the lines. TfGM were hoping to be able to hold its regular ‘Thank-You’ event on behalf of the Chair for station volunteer groups in January 2022.
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