Data Analysis to study Sub-threshold Delays incurred by Tyne and Wear Metro Trains

Daniel Screen, James Parkinson, Christopher Shilton, Aleksandrs Rjabovs, Marin Marinov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The performance of Tyne and Wear Metro system in the UK is measured on a headway basis, and gaps in service that are 4 min or more in excess of scheduled gaps are investigated and the cause documented. The metro system has a number of infrastructure constraints including single-line sections, junctions and level crossings, all of which have to be taken account of when constructing the timetable, in order to avoid trains being held by the signalling system, causing delays. The objective of this study is to analyse delays less than 4 min, which are not investigated or attributed to a cause, known as sub-threshold delays. The purpose of the analysis is to identify regularly occurring issues which are due to the timetable, in order to recommend changes. Two different data sets were used. The first data set explored specific trains, areas and times of day where delays were highest. The second data set allowed us to drill down on each of those in greater detail by studying station departure times for each train. A number of options to resolve the issues identified during the analysis are proposed. Whilst the results are specific to the Tyne and Wear Metro system, the methodology is suitable for use by other urban rail transit systems. The study identified several areas of future work including resolving data recording issues, carrying out further investigation of trains at peak times in particular scenarios, and automating the analysis through the use of other software.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalUrban Rail Transit
Issue number2
Early online date2 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • Delays
  • Metro
  • Metro trains
  • Performance analysis
  • Punctuality
  • Timetables
  • Urban rail transit


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