Rail firms criticised over poor punctuality

Poor punctuality has been noted in new figures. Picture: Robert Perry
Poor punctuality has been noted in new figures. Picture: Robert Perry
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Long-distance train punctuality has slumped to its lowest level since 2004-5, new figures show.

A total of 54.8 per cent of trains on long-distance routes arrived within 59 seconds of their scheduled time in the 12 months ending 22 June 2013, Network Rail (NR) statistics showed.

This was the worst performance for this particular 12-month period since 2004-5 when the long-distance figure was 52.3 per cent, according to the statistics.

The latest performance also compares unfavourably with the most recent years, with long-distance punctuality on the 59-second “rule” reaching 59.7 per cent in 2011-12, reaching 61.1 per cent in 2010-11 and 65.8 per cent in 2009-10.

Based on the 59-second measurement, the overall national figure for trains on time in the 12-month period ending on 22 June this year was 68.1 per cent.

West Coast main line operator Virgin Trains, which has rec­ently suffered from overhead wire and track problems not of its own making, only managed to run 48.4 per cent of trains on time, while CrossCountry whose serpentine route covers all of Britain except the London area, only achieved a figure of 46.2 per cent

Based on the 59-second measurement, the best-performing company in the last 12 months has been Chiltern with a figure of 87 per cent.

The national figure of 68.1 per cent under the 59-second measurement compared with 69.8 per cent in 2011-12, with 69.6 per cent in 2010-11 and 70.2 per cent in 2009-10.

NR announced earlier this week it had started on a £40 million investment programme to improve performance on the West Coast line. An Office of Rail Regulation spokesman said: “NR must focus on the management and resilience of its assets and reduce the significant proportion of delays it is
responsible for, in particular those caused by equipment failures.”