Thursday, 6 October 2016

Labour's train of thought is off the rails

Here's a thing - at First Minister's Questions in Holyrood today, Kezia Dugdale (Labour)(Lothian list)(Leader) claimed that a third of all rail routes in Scotland have services that are late more often than not.  Later, Neil Bibby (Labour)(West of Scotland list)(Transport and Town Centres) tweeted that it was a third of all trains.

That table comes from Scotrail's monitoring of its own performance and can be found here.  Let's first knock Mr Bibby off track - that's a list of stations, not trains.  To think that a third of stations equates to a third of trains means that Labour's transport wallah thinks that all stations in Scotland are as busy as all the others.  It means he thinks that Arbroath is as busy as Glasgow Central and Balloch as busy as Edinburgh Waverley - only an eejit would believe that.

Assuming that El Bibster simply mistweeted and meant to ape his boss, let's see about Kezia's take.  She said it was a third of all routes and you could see that that's a possibility but I spotted that Arbroath is the worst performing station and, since I come from Dundee, I know a little about the railway up that way and any train that stops at Arbroath also stops at Carnoustie which is also in the third getting less than 50% so that shrinks the number of routes by one.  Over on the west coast Glasgow High Street is listed but trains travelling through GHS serve Helensburgh Central, Balloch, Milngavie, Dalmuir, Springburn and Cumbernauld which are all also listed as being less than 50%.  The number of stations doesn't represent the number of trains or the number of routes.

Besides which, not all of Scotland's stations are listed (although Newcastle is) so there's no way of knowing how many services are affected by looking at those figures - Labour might have been better off if they'd looked up the National Timetable.

That's not all - you'll notice that those figures have a train being late if it it gets into the station more than 59 seconds after the time it was meant to.  59 seconds!  Seems quite stringent and it turns out it is - Network Rail uses the European standard definition of more than five minutes for commuter trains and ten minutes for longer distance.  You can see on that chart that the punctuality of ScotRail is currently at 90.6% against an England and Wales score of 87.4%.  It seems ScotRail is holding itself to a higher standard when measuring punctuality and it gets pelters from Labour for trying.

Oh what a tangled web they weave when first they try to score cheap political points and get easy newspaper headlines - or something like that.  Labour is truly appalling at opposition, truly teeth-grindingly awful.


Colin Kerr said...

Unfortunately, all the Press, except The National, will go with Labour's take on the subject.

Hugh Renicks said...

Great piece . Slab caught out with lies (again). Unionists will lap up Slabs Misquotes like a dog laps up water!

D Doc said...

"Truly teeth-grindingly awful". Aahahahaa... Brilliant
I read an old quote this morning, "The worst-tempered people I have ever met, were people who knew they were wrong".
That would explain her face every week at FMQ's then.

bjsalba said...

One wee point. Scotrail (Abellio) is not responsible for any train delays caused by signal problems, track problems, late running works on the track etc. That is the responsibility of Network Rail, but that part of the system is not devolved.