Network Rail told to improve punctuality

RAIL regulators have warned Network Rail (NR) to improve long-distance train punctuality or face substantial fines.

It is “unacceptable” that around 13.7 million passenger journeys on long-distance trains were affected by late or cancelled trains last year, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said.

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NR is currently achieving a trains-on-time figure of 89.2 per cent on long-distance routes. Yesterday, ORR said NR must speed up improvements towards meeting its long-distance services target of 92 per cent in 2013-14. ORR said if NR failed to deliver the 2013-14 target, it would face “a substantial financial penalty”. ORR chief executive Richard Price said: “We expect NR to hit their targets and to achieve this by implementing sustainable improvements.”