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Southeastern earns more than £18million from delays

PUBLISHED: 10:22 18 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:35 18 November 2016

Southeastern

Southeastern

Archant

Delayed passengers received £2.2million from the company

SouthernSouthern

Train companies including Southern and Southeastern are taking in millions of pounds for delays to their services.

Network Rail paid out more than £100million to the country’s rail services for unplanned disruption which it can be blamed for.

Infrastructure faults, vandalism and bad weather are just some of the reasons why Network Rail may have to pay out rail firms.

In turn, rail services paid out around £45million to passengers via delay repay schemes.

Southeastern told us that delay repay is just one element of what the Network Rail payment covers, while Southern explained the two payments were actually ‘entirely separate’.

Strikes on Southern Rail have caused months of disruption to passengers in Ashford, Tonbridge and parts of Bromley.

Network Rail figures reveal it paid £22,444,616.71 to GTR, which runs the service, while passengers across all of GTR’s services were paid out £2.3million.

The company explained payouts to passengers had risen by 50 per cent on the previous year.

A GTR spokesperson said: “This increase shows that more and more people are aware they can claim compensation and have done so. We have gone to great lengths to advertise our Delay Repay scheme and have made it even easier to claim.”

Speaking on the money received from Network Rail, GTR added: “These payments are entirely separate from, and different to, payments to passengers by train companies, which are often made regardless of what caused the delay.

“In GTR’s case, the Network Rail payments are passed on to the Department for Transport to compensate for the damage these delays do to the rail business by putting people off from travelling in the future.”

Meanwhile, Southeastern was the third highest earner from the payouts.

The company, which recorded £20million profits at the start of the year, took in £18,216,684.28 from Network Rail’s compensation payments.

At the same time, the service paid out less than £2.3million to passengers claiming compensation via its delay repay scheme.

Southeastern claim 48p of every £1 it receives from ticket sales goes directly to Network Rail.

A spokesperson explained: “There is a performance contract in place that reimburses us for costs incurred for combined train delays over a period of four weeks and the money quoted relates to this.

“This contract is put in place to account costs such as arranging travel concessions with other train operators, replacement buses, loss of revenue, the cost of Delay Repay compensation and reimbursement of track access fees.

“For these reasons, it is not accurate to simply compare this figure with the amount paid out under the delay repay scheme as it is only on single element of the entire contractual payment.”

In light of the gulf between the two sums, there have been fresh calls to better promote the compensation available to passengers.

Rail watchdog Transport Focus claims not enough is being done by rail firms.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “The rail industry has made some improvements in telling passengers what they are due after delays – but they still have a way to go. Another obstacle is the perceived effort involved in claiming.”

“The Government has lowered the Delay Repay level to 15 minutes starting on Southern services first. Train companies now need to do more to make it easier for passengers to claim.”

Southeastern’s spokesperson added: “When things do go wrong we urge passengers to claim Delay Repay as we compensate, no matter what the cause, if a journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more.

“We publicise this heavily and are finding more people are claiming, but not everybody does and we would urge them to please do so as it is their right.”

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