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Rail operators improve punctuality

PUBLISHED: 09:40 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 July 2010

LOCAL rail operators have maintained or increased their punctuality rates according to the latest figures announced by Network Rail.

Annual punctuality has reached the 90pc mark for the first time since records began in 1992, with a total of 90.

LOCAL rail operators have maintained or increased their punctuality rates according to the latest figures announced by Network Rail.

Annual punctuality has reached the 90pc mark for the first time since records began in 1992, with a total of 90.6pc of trains running

on time in the 12 months ending in March, while the figure for April was a monthly record of 93.5pc.

National Express East Anglia, which operates Norwich to London Liverpool Street services, recorded a 90.5pc punctuality rate for 2008/09 - achieving the same level as in 2007/08.

This increased to 91.9pc during the period from April 1 to May 2 this year.

A National Express East Anglia spokesman said: “Train service performance on our network has continued to improve over recent years but we recognise that passengers want greater consistency, especially on our mainline route where much of our efforts are concentrated in bringing about further improvement.

“The work we have been taking forward through Joint Performance Improvement Plans with Network Rail has delivered annual average punctuality over 90pc and we are working together to improve this figure still further.”

Other local train operators saw an improvement in their year on year performance.

East Midlands Trains, which runs services between Norwich and Nottingham, increased its punctuality rate from 87.1pc in 2007/09 to 89.3pc in 2008/09. The figure for April was 94.3pc.

The train-on-time figure for First Capital Connect, which operates services between London King's Cross and King's Lynn, went up from 90.6pc to 91.1pc during the same period.

In April 92.6pc of trains were on time.

Train punctuality dipped sharply at the beginning of this decade after speed restrictions were brought in following the October 2000 Hatfield rail crash.

When NR took over responsibility for rail infrastructure from Railtrack in 2002, punctuality was less than 79pc. Robin Gisby, NR's operations and customer service director, said: “Passengers are today experiencing the most punctual train service ever provided on Britain's railways.”

But Ashwin Kumar, director of Passenger Focus - the independent passenger watchdog - yesterday called for further improvements.

“Punctual trains is a top priority for passengers and the industry has done well to improve the number of trains which run on time.

“However, one in 10 trains still run with delays which means there is still room for improvement,” he said.

“When delays do happen, the industry must also get better at providing passengers with information and must tell passengers about the compensation they are owed.”

>Normal service resumed at 8am yesterday on the Norwich mainline into London following severe delays affecting hundreds of people heading back to work after the bank holiday. The disruption was caused by problems with overhead wires at about 6.30pm on Monday that left more than 100 passengers stranded at Ardleigh. Trains between Ipswich and Colchester were suspended and a replacement bus service used to ferry passengers while Network Rail engineers carried out repairs.

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