HS1: One in seven trains run late

Despite a record one in seven trains running late in 2015/16, HS1 Ltd was only directly responsible for delays to less than one in 200 services on the high speed line.

The findings are contained in ORR’s HS1 annual report for the financial year ended 31 March 2016. HS1 Ltd has a 30 year concession to operate and manage the high speed line from St Pancras  to the Channel Tunnel, though responsibility for maintaining the infrastructure is subcontracted to Network Rail (High Speed) Ltd, or NR (HS).

2015/16 was the first year under the new control period CP2, which was determined by the 2014 Periodic Review (PR14), and also the first year that the ORR fixed the  OMR (operations, maintenance & renewals) charge.

ORR says that HS1 performance remained good throughout the year: 75,270 trains were scheduled to run, but of the 10,677 reported delays only 332 (0.44%) were attributable to HS1. Of these, the three most common faults were points’ failures (95 delays), OLE (overhead line equipment) and third rail faults (52 delays), and track circuit failures (41 delays).

The number of delays is the highest to date but just about all were due to circumstances beyond HS1’s control.

Source: ORR
Number &  delays by operator                                                     Source: ORR

This compares with performance in the years to date:

                                              HS1 Delay details
Year Total number of scheduled trains Total number of delays (and %) Total number of HS1-attributable delays (and %)
2015/16 75,270 10,677 (14.18) 332 (0.44)
2014/15 73,922   6,628   (8.97) 116 (0.16)
2013/14 72,910   5,574   (7.64) 220 (0.30)
2012/13 76,693   6,119   (7.98) 269 (0.35)
2011/12 71,548   5,878   (8.21) 401 (0.56)
2010/11 71,287   7,792 (10.93) 312 (0.44)

The average delay per train was 10.12 seconds (s) as against HS1’s internal target of 5.5s. However, the results were skewed by four major trespass incidents; if these were excluded, the average delay would have been 5.1s.

1,750 more trains ran than scheduled under PR14, mainly due to more domestic (Southeastern) trains between St Pancras and Ashford. The number of timetabled freight trains, however, dropped sharply from 704 in 2014/15, to 509 in 2015/16.

Source: ORR
Number & type of HS1 trains                                                           Source: ORR

HS1 income was £4.6m greater than the PR14 determination, set at £65.9m. Net income after expenditure was £1.6m against the projected PR14 loss of £1.4m. The improvement was the result was of additional revenue from increased domestic train mileage. Net income in 2014/15 was £11.6m.

                                                                           Financial summary (£m)
(2015/16 prices) FYE 2015/16 PR 14 Variance FYE 2014/15
Pass through income 14.0 14.8 (0.8) 14.6
OMR charge 54.4 51.1   3.3 70.0
Additional performance income   2.1   2.1
Total Income 70.5 65.9   4.6 84.6
Total controlled track costs (52.2) (51.9) (0.3) (56.8)
Total pass through costs (14.0) (14.8)   0.8 (14.6)
Total freight costs   (0.6)   (0.6)   (1.3)
Total OMRC costs (66.8) (67.3)   0.5 (73.0)
Performance related payments   (2.1) (2.1)
Total costs (68.9) (67.3) (1.6) (73.0)
Net Income/(Expenditure)    1.6   (1.4)   3.0   11.6


The pass through cost and the performance related payments were clawed back from the train operators and from NR (HS) respectively. The former relates to costs that are largely uncontrollable by HS1 and passed on to the train operators (e.g. non-traction electricity, electrical infrastructure costs, and business & insurance rates, etc); the latter refers to reimbursements to train operators for poor performance caused by NR (HS).

ORR: HS1 Annual Report 2015/16

See also

(Note – this article will be updated when additional information becomes available)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *