For those responsible for maintaining, overhauling, procuring and even funding traction and rolling stock, the last 12 months have been a year like no other. These annual reviews provide a snapshot of rolling stock fleet reliability in Period 7 of the railway reporting year. This is effectively mid- September/mid-October, and the background to last year’s review was a rising trend of returning ridership, while in the outside world the Government was making optimistic noises about loosening lockdown restrictions in time for Christmas.
In last year’s review I reported how the depots had got to grips with the impact on their routine activities of social distancing, additional cleaning and other Covid-related requirements. To this should be added the impact of illness and self-isolation on staff availability. Of course, this was being felt throughout the railway wherever people had to work in groups – signalling centres and control rooms being another example.