Rail punctuality tumbles

THE freezing weather over Christmas and the New Year sent train punctuality tumbling, official figures revealed today.

THE freezing weather over Christmas and the New Year sent train punctuality tumbling, official figures revealed today.

East of England regional operator National Express East Anglia achieved a punctuality figure of 78.5% in the period from December 13 to January 9, down 13.5% on the same period the previous year.

Up to a third of trains on the two main London to Scotland routes, the East Coast and the West Coast lines, did not run on time

Punctuality was also particularly badly hit on services run by the Southeastern train company, with only 70% of trains on time compared with 91.7% in the same four-week period in 2008/09.

Overall, network-wide, 80% of trains ran on time from December 13 to January 9 compared with 89.8% in the same Christmas/New Year period in 2008/09, the figures from Network Rail (NR) showed.

The best-performing train company was Arriva Trains Wales, which ran 90.4% of trains on time, while Virgin Trains, which runs on the West Coast Main Line, suffered the most from the bad weather, running only 65.7% of trains on time.

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On the East Coast line, now being operated in the public sector following last year's surrender of the loss-making franchise by National Express, the trains-on-time figure was only 67.2%.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: “In what was the worst snow Britain has experienced in almost 30 years, today's figures show that train companies continued to keep services running in extremely testing circumstances.

“At a time when temperatures fell significantly below zero, train companies worked around the clock to keep services running during the snow and the ice to ensure disruption remained at a minimum and passengers were well-informed.

“It is testament to the hard work of staff that four out of five trains arrived on time over the course of the last month.”

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