Government keeps its own counsel as rail compensation Bill fails


An MP has said she will continue to campaign over the ‘scandal’ of rail companies profiting from delays and cancellations but the Government has declined to clarify its position on the issue.

Last month Labour MP Joan Ryan put forward a Private Members' Bill that would have required surplus ‘Schedule 8’ disruption payments between Network Rail and train operating companies (TOCs) to be spent on improving passengers’ experience of rail travel.

Rail Minister Claire Perry

She told MPs that Network Rail paid TOCs £575m over five years for delays and cancellations caused by issues such as points or power failures, but TOCs only paid £73m in compensation to passengers. She described this ‘a scandal’.

Ms Ryan has now told Transport Network: ‘Unfortunately, due to a lack of parliamentary time, [and] with the Queen's Speech next week starting the new parliamentary year, the Bill will not proceed.’

She added: ‘I will continue to raise these issues in the next parliamentary session too, because I remain convinced that action needs to be taken to address this matter.’

At the end of last month, rail minister Claire Perry declined to respond directly to a parliamentary question from Ms Ryan asking what assessment ministers had made of the adequacy of the Schedule 8 scheme. She said that the Department for Transport (DfT) had ‘provided input’ into a review by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Ms Perry added: ‘The right hon. Lady and I are as one on the view that the rail industry has to do more to improve the current compensation payments, which are rather generous in absolute terms but are not well advertised or well claimed.’

Transport Network asked the DfT what its input into the ORR review was. A spokesperson said: ‘This will be published by ORR in due course.’

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