AROUND one in every 16 Transport for Wales trains were cancelled last month, according to new figures.

Train cancellations are at record levels, and the Office of Rail and Road has written to operators setting out the need for change in how late changes to services are recorded and conveyed to passengers.  

The figures, which cover the four weeks to January 7, show that 953 of Transport for Wales’ 15,848 services (around six per cent) were cancelled, while a further 568 services were partially cancelled.

Great Western Railway and CrossCounty services also operate on the South Wales Main Line.

Of GWR’s 26,216 services across England and Wales during the four-week period, 1,340 (around one in 20) were cancelled, while 671 were cancelled in part.

258 of CrossCountry’s 3,476 services across the UK (7.4 per cent) were cancelled in full, while 247 services were partially cancelled.

The impact of these cancellations on passengers could be even worse, as the figures do not include services removed from timetables as late as 10pm on the previous night.

The process, known as ‘pre-cancellations’ or ‘p-coding’ are when train services are cancelled before the day where the train is removed from the timetable.

The ORR has now ordered operators to stop using this method when they cancel services due to not having enough staff or trains in the right locations – for example ahead of strike days.

A Transport for Wales spokesperson said: “Transport for Wales is in the middle of a £5 billion transformation of rail services throughout Wales and the Borders, including introducing brand new trains and faster, more frequent services.

“We’re working closely with our industry partners Network Rail to reduce delays and cancellations, including improving the rail infrastructure to make it more reliable.

“The number of pre-cancelled services remains low. On average, only 1.2 per cent of our services have been pre-cancelled in the last year.

“Although we don’t use pre-cancellations very often, their use does allow customers to plan their journeys on the day of travel more effectively.”

Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance, said: “We recognise this temporary mechanism was used to help passengers through a time of frequent disruption by telling them as early as possible when their train service was cancelled. 

“But good passenger information can still be achieved while retaining full transparency, robustness and trustworthiness of the official statistics.

“As such, we need all train companies and Network Rail to come up with a more passenger-friendly method of making late changes.”