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Third of trains were late in 2014

More than a third of trains failed to arrive on time last year, with one commuter service being late on every single occasion.

In the 12 months ending December 6 2014, a total of 64.6% of trains reached their destination within 59 seconds of their scheduled arrival, Network Rail (NR) figures showed.

Under the 59-second measurement, known as "right time", as many as 85.1% of services run by the Chiltern train company were on time.

But only 39.1% of CrossCountry services were on time and only 50.3% of Southern trains got in within the 59-second limit.

The Southern train company confirmed that based on the right-time measure, none of its 7.29am Brighton to London Victoria trains reached the capital at the scheduled time of 8.35am.

Also, the train before it, the 7.14am Brighton-London, only got in on time on 1% of occasions, while the train after, the 7.44am, was on time on only 2% of occasions.

The right-time NR figures for the 12 months ending December 6 2014, also showed that Arriva Trains Wales, c2c, and London Overground all had on-time figures in excess of 80%.

Contrastingly, only 45.6% of Grand Central's trains were on time and only 50.9% of Virgin Trains' services were on time.

NR's performance is judged not on the right-time measure but on the public performance measure (PPM) which deems a commuter service is on time if its arrives within five minutes of scheduled time, with long-distance trains being on time if they arrive within 10 minutes.

On this five-minute PPM measure, just 27% of the 7.29am Brighton to London trains were on time last year.

The PPM figures for all train companies showed that for the 12 months ending December 6 2014, a total of 89.3% of trains were on time.

Top operator was c2c with a punctuality figure of 96.4%, while the worst-performing company was Southern with a figure of 83.4%.

A spokesman for Southern said: "We acknowledge that the performance of the 7.29am Brighton to London Victoria service has been particularly disappointing.

"This is a train that we know has a poor PPM record and although we're working hard to improve its performance, its planned path is extremely tight because the network is so busy."

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "These figures show that passengers paying some of the highest annual commuter fares are being taken to the cleaners by the train companies when it comes to quality and reliability of service.

"With hundreds of millions of pounds being drained away from rail investment and into the pockets of the train companies through profits and subsidies, we are left with a crisis in terms of capacity and infrastructure which is set to get worse. The only solution is public ownership and an end to the scandal of the rip-off on our tracks."

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said: "These figures are appalling, especially for commuters in the South East who are paying the highest fares in Europe for some of the slowest trains.

"Every year, they pay more for less. They should not be paying higher fares for this level of service."

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group representing train operators and NR, said: "Thanks to major investment over the past five years, Britain's railway achieves higher passenger satisfaction and has a better safety record than any of its major European counterparts.

"While the majority of trains arrive as planned, it is clear that in some places the industry's recent record on punctuality has not come up to scratch which is why train operators and NR are jointly committed to raising the industry's game on punctuality."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "It is essential that the industry comes together and grips with the day-to-day performance issues on the rail network, regardless of the cause.

"It is right that passengers expect a decent rail service with trains that arrive on time. We are working hard and investing record amounts to improve our railways. This can cause some short term inconvenience, but industry must do its part."

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