More Train Delays: It’s Not Our Fault

Following on from a previous post (supplied by one of our readers) about Metra train delays, I thought I would post a photo of a sign in the Oxford train station explaining the decline in performance by CrossCountry Trains.

Public Performance Measure sign posted by CrossCountry Trains

As the font size in our sign poster is too small to read (and for web accessibility), we’ve typed up the content of the sign:

CrossCrountry Performance
Our Public Performance Measure result fell to 87.3% as a result of some significant incidents on our lines of route. Flooding in Scotland and North East England following torrential rain storms and three instances of signalling and power cable thefts prevented trains running formally. Overhead power lines on electrified routes were damaged on two occasions blocking lines for several hours. Trespassing on the railway resulted in two fatalities and the closure of a route while Police removed a person from a signalling gantry. The evacuation of Birmingham New Street station was a precaution while a small fire on a train was extinguished caused major disruption. Despite this disappointing result, the tend over the last year remains one of improvement.

I think all that explanation can be summarised in one short sentence: It’s not our fault – it’s never our fault.


  1. Hi QI – Just once, just once, I would love to hear a train company admit failure due to its own short-comings. I don’t think anyone expects perfection, but by ignoring or denying their own slip-ups, train companies cause everyone to discount whatever excuses they proffer.

    Honesty goes a long way in the marketplace. Even the explanation that Shefaly heard on the London Underground is better than the rubbish that CrossCounty spewed out on the sign I saw.

  2. What I am wondering is, why did they bother conducting the “Public Performance Measure” if they only intended to deny any responsibility?

  3. @ Conall – I suppose it does make sense to remind commuters of the various external causes for delays. We do have a tendency to forget about those when berating train companies. Still, to deny implicitly any culpability for any delay seems disingenuous at best.

  4. @ Conall

    The Rail Regulator makes train operators/ Network Rail pay fines for avoidable delays or for delays that result from mismanagement such as over-runs. The Public Performance Measure is the metric used to determine these fines. Invoking the ‘acts of God’ or ‘force majeure’ clause is the CYA that is in effect here.

    See this for more:

  5. @ Shefaly

    Thanks for the reference point Shefaly. So it seems this proclamation was just about passing the buck…who’s surprised?

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