National Task Force

Chair: Mark Hopwood (GWR)
RDG Lead:
Dean Johnson


The timetable is our promise to customers. While almost nine out 10 passenger trains still arrive within five or ten minutes accordingly, of their arrival time, too often customers’ journeys are delayed. We are investing billions of pounds so that we make good on our promise more often and improve customers’ satisfaction with the reliability of our services. Our railway is used more intensively than almost any other in Europe. While the size of the network has hardly changed in the last 15 years, the number of trains run have risen by 21%.

Making trains run on time requires thousands of people and pieces of equipment to work reliably and predictably all day, every day. It depends on making the right decisions from minute by minute, in real time, to, sometimes days, weeks, months and years ahead. Delivering a punctual train needs close and constant attention to detail. That’s our challenge.

Punctuality improved consistently for a decade from 2002, as we reduced the number of incidents on the line. 1.4 billion Journeys are completed punctually each year, 600 million more than 15 years ago, but in some places, performance has deteriorated since 2012. Disruption caused by any single event now spreads further and wider because more people are travelling and more trains are running on the network. We know every single passenger and freight customer relies on us to reach their destination on time, and that reliability is one of the biggest drivers of customer satisfaction. Through the Rail Delivery Group and the wider National Task Force, the industry is committed to continue working in partnership to improve the punctuality of train services.

What we are doing to improve things

The NTF - which brings together passenger and freight operators, Network Rail, the Office of Rail Regulation and the Department for Transport - is the body through which the industry cooperates to improve performance.

It has set three overarching national themes for attention:

  • Better timetables;
  • Better operations; and
  • Better assets.

We are now reporting the proportion of trains arriving to the minute rather than the current official measure, known as the public performance measure (PPM), where short and long distance trains are considered ‘on time’ if they are five or 10 minutes after schedule respectively. Read our press release about this.

A- A A+