ScotRail punctuality hits 8-year low following Storm Ali damage

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ScotRail’s train punctuality has hit an eight-year low after disruption from Storm Ali further battered already its poor figures.

Just 81.8 per cent of services arrived within five minutes of time in the four weeks to 13 October.

Storm Ali damaged overhead power lines and trees fell on tracks. Picture: PA

Storm Ali damaged overhead power lines and trees fell on tracks. Picture: PA

That was significantly down on the 91.6 per cent in the previous period and 88.3 per cent seen a year ago.

The last time that punctuality figures were worse than this was in 2010, and the issue has not been as bad in September-October since 2004.

Scottish Labour described the figures as “shocking” and highlighted they were the worst since Dutch state railways offshoot Abellio took over ScotRail in 2015.

The latest figures also further dragged down ScotRail’s underlying performance, on which it is officially measured.

Timekeeping over the year to 13 October was down by 0.5 points to 87.5 per cent, which is nearly five points below the official target of 92.2 per cent.

However, because of an improvement plan in force (the Donovan Review), and a waiver due to the impact of Network Rail infrastructure faults, this has been lowered by five points to 87.2 per cent.

But there was better news for ScotRail when unions called off an overtime ban which had hit some Sunday trains. They agreed to extra pay for working on days off.

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Colin Smyth MSP said: “These are shocking figures, but it is little wonder performance is plummeting after the SNP gave ScotRail a licence to fail until June next year.

“Not only is performance still plummeting, but it is the worst it has been in the franchise.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “The significant increase in infrastructure issues, many caused by severe weather, have clearly had an impact on performance. However, ministers expect the ScotRail Alliance to work closely together to build on lessons learned, including those in the Donovan Review.”

The alliance, which includes Network Rail, said Storm Ali had a “severe impact” and caused the six most disruptive incidents during the period. Damage included to overhead power lines and trees falling on tracks.

Managing director Alex Hynes said: “We faced significant challenges during Storm Ali which had an understandable impact on our performance. We know the disruption affected our customers, we understand their frustration and we are sorry their journeys were impacted upon so much during the storm.

“We are investing billions in improved infrastructure and hundreds of millions of pounds on new and upgraded trains as we continue to do everything we can to improve performance.”