FOUR in ten ScotRail trains fail to arrive on time, in one of the worst performances in Britain, new figures showed today.
• ScotRail has fourth worst figure in Britain for “right-time” performance
• Virgin Trains blamed Network Rail for 75 per cent of their delays.
Only 59.8 per cent of ScotRail trains reached their destination within one minute of schedule in the year to last Saturday, track owner Network Rail has reported.
This the fourth lowest figure among Britain’s 19 train operators, with only cross-Border firms Virgin Trains and CrossCountry, and Southern, worse for so-called “right-time” performance.
ScotRail operates several long-distance routes, but some two-thirds of its passengers travel in the Glasgow area, on relatively short-distance journeys.
A total of 92.9 per cent of ScotRail trains arrived within five minutes over the same period.
Fewer than half of Virgin Trains’ services, which operate between Scotland, Birmingham and London on the west coast main line, arrived within one minute, but more than eight in ten arrived within ten minutes.
CrossCountry, which operates between Scotland and Birmingham on the east coast main line, only managed 46 per cent “right-time” arrivals, but nearly nine in ten were within ten minutes.
By contrast, 60.9 per cent of East Coast’s services, including Scotland-London, had “right-time arrivals”, with more than eight in ten within ten minutes.
Several train operators’ delays, including Virgin’s, were largely caused by track problems, which are the responsibility of Network Rail.
Virgin Trains said over the last month it had been responsible for only 12 per cent of its delays, with 75 per cent down to Network Rail and the rest caused by other train operators.
Its spokesman said: “Categorising a train as late when it arrives just over a minute after its scheduled time on an intercity journey of several hundred miles is not a useful exercise or one with much relevance to passengers.
“It would be unreasonable to expect a car journey or flight lasting several hours to arrive within a minute of schedule and it is equally unrealistic for train travel.
“The UK is the only rail network in the world to publish this type of ‘zero delay’ information.”
A ScotRail spokeswoman said more trains were running in Scotland than ever before - up more than 10 per cent since 2004 - and when a train was delayed, the knock-on impact on other trains was much higher.
She said: “We work hard achieve to achieve ‘right time’ figures and, despite the impact of the prolonged winter, these are steadily improving.
“We aim to operate our trains right on time but are also mindful of the need to strike a sensible balance in the interests of customer service, particularly for those people who may require more assistance - or time - to board or alight.”
Passenger Focus director David Sidebottom said: “Passengers are suspicious of punctuality statistics that allow trains to be up to five or ten minutes late and still count as on time, so we welcome the publication of this right-time data.
“As we expected, it shows the actual punctuality of train companies such as CrossCountry, East Coast, ScotRail and Virgin is massively lower than the public performance measure that was published up to now.”