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Rail network punctuality drops to worst level in almost a decade, figures show

Published 12/05/2016

More than one in every 10 trains failed to arrive at its destination on time, data for the 12 months to the end of March showed
More than one in every 10 trains failed to arrive at its destination on time, data for the 12 months to the end of March showed

Punctuality on Britain's railways has fallen to its worst level in almost a decade, according to official figures.

More than one in every 10 trains (10.9%) failed to arrive at its destination on time in the 12 months to the end of March.

This is the worst performance since 2 006-07, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) regulator said.

Trains only fail the industry's punctuality measure if they are at 10 minutes late for long-distance services and five minutes late for commuter trains.

Separate figures show that 3.1% of trains were cancelled or at least 30 minutes late over the same period - the highest level since 2004-05.

Labour's shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood commented: " It's clear that punctuality on the rail network is in free fall under the Tories.

"Passengers are paying ever higher prices to travel on increasingly unreliable and overcrowded carriages. Ministers must stop making excuses and act."

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) - which is responsible for Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express services - had the worst punctuality over the past year with just 81.5% of trains on time, followed by Virgin Trains East Coast (85.2%) and the Caledonian Sleeper (86%).

Punctuality in London and the South East fell to 87.8% over the past year.

The ORR said delays in this region due to track faults such as broken rails had increased by 37%, while disruption as a result of issues with train crews rose by 24%.

Delays caused by severe weather events tripled, the regulator added.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: " While almost nine out 10 passenger trains still arrive within five or 10 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, a measure defined by Government, too often customers' journeys are delayed.

"Our challenge is that the railway is used more intensively than almost any other in Europe, and the number of trains run has risen by 28% in 17 years, while the size of the network has hardly changed."

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: " Today's figures also show that our safety record is continuing to improve and our railway remains one of the safest in Europe.

"Projects such as the multibillion-pound Government-funded Thameslink programme will be a step-change in the quality of service and infrastructure that passengers receive, but it is important that we work hard with the industry to make performance and punctuality a top priority."

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