ScotRail punctuality down for third month in a row

The ScotRail Alliance’s punctuality has slipped for the third month in a row, increasing the prospect of further potential remedial action.

The ScotRail Alliance’s punctuality has slipped for the third month in a row, increasing the prospect of further potential remedial action.

The deterioration in performance comes as ScotRail continues to implement a performance improvement plan (PIP) ordered by Scottish ministers a year ago.

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The latest figures show 83.1 per cent of trains were classed as on time in the four weeks to 11 November – or arriving at their destination within five minutes of schedule.

That compares to 86.1 per cent in the same period last year and 88.3 per cent in the previous four-week period.

The previous period was nearly 2 percentage points down on last year and the preceding one 0.6 points down.

A separate measure, of ScotRail’s performance over the last year, or the “moving annual average”, has also fallen over the last three periods.

It was 91.2 per cent in August-September, 91.1 per cent in September-October and 90.8 per cent in the latest period.

The figure is just 0.1 point above the level required under the PIP and 1 point higher than in the same period last year.

However, it is also 0.6 points below the target set by the Office of Rail and Road, which regulates Network Rail, and which can “hold it to account” if there is a “sustained period of poor performance”.

The ScotRail Alliance with Network Rail said the latest period had been “challenging”.

A spokesman said: The period was a difficult one for operators right across Britain, with just two achieving performance targets. Autumn weather has a significant impact on performance.

“Figures show that 90 per cent of leaves have already fallen – compared to 60 per cent by this time last year.

“Rail adhesion can force train drivers to slow down when breaking and accelerating, which can means slower journey times.

“Autumn weather also has an impact on the ScotRail Alliance’s ability to recover from incidents.”

These included a freight train hitting a tree at Markinch in Fife, a car on the line at Bowling in West Dunbartonshire, overhead line problems at Motherwell and a suspected track fault on the Forth Bridge.

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with ScotRail to maintain previous good progress while facing up to the obvious challenges winter will undoubtedly bring.

“The principles of the PIP remains in place, just as it has done in the last year, to ensure this happens.”