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15 September 2011, 12:19
The Office of Rail Regulation, the ORR has today criticised Network Rail and East Coast Trains for it's poor performance.
Latest performance figures published today in the Network Rail monitor highlight that Network Rail is falling behind key end-of-year punctuality targets, including long distance passenger services where it is 3.4% adrift. Performance on East Coast is amongst the hardest hit.
Whilst train passengers generally experience a good level of performance, ORR has called on Network Rail and train operators to work closely together to resolve performance issues and deliver further improvements. The regulator also warned Network Rail that it will consider formal action if the company fails to deliver on its end-of-year performance targets.
ORR Chief Executive Richard Price said: "We have seen greater reliability and punctuality across our rail network recently, as the percentage of trains running late has fallen by 10% over the past 5 years. But Network Rail is currently adrift of its key punctuality targets and performance in some areas is falling well short of what passengers expect, notably on East Coast. Poor performance must be remedied quickly.
Network Rail has committed itself to raising performance year-on-year in return for the investment it gets from the public. But on current trends it will miss its targets. We have been watching this closely, particularly on routes where there is a real and sustained problem."
Mr Price added "The causes of delay are often complex, particularly where they are driven by factors from outside the railway like cable theft. But the impact of delay on passengers’ lives can be huge. Network Rail and the train companies have committed to work together through their National Task Force to tackle these problems. They need to demonstrate that the industry’s leadership can really deliver for its customers. It is urgent that they do, and I expect to see robust and realistic plans in the coming weeks which are being acted upon and making a difference."
East Coast Trains were set a target to achieve 84.2% punctuality, it managed 83%.
An East Coast spokesman told Heart "Our train performance has improved in the four weeks surveyed between24 July to 20 August, from 81.7% to 89.4%, an increase of 8%. Nevertheless we know we can do better for our customers.
"Many of our delays continue to be caused by external factors outside of our control as a train operator, with fatalities on the railway continuing to be the number one cause of delay. We continue to work hard with Network Rail and other industry partners to further improve performance for our passengers."
A spokesman from Network Rail say "NRis focused on continuing to drive up performance and safety across Britain's railway. Over the last few years the industry has driven up performance levels to amongst the best in Europe with over 90% of trains arriving on time. Yet, we acknowledge that in some parts of the country performance does not meet the standards that passengers and our customers now rightly demand. Working with our industry partners, we are committed to making further improvements."