Latest Rail News

06.09.12

Network Rail still failing on punctuality – ORR

Network Rail is still failing to improve punctuality on long distance rail services, the ORR has reported, warning that the company could face substantial fines as a result.

The regulator accepted plans to improve from Network Rail three months ago, following a warning that performance was below the standards required.

Performance for the quarter covering April 1 – July 21 shows that 88.9% of long distance trains reached their final destination on time. This is 2.2% below where punctuality should be at this point and 0.4% below Network Rail’s recovery plan.

ORR has requested that Network Rail quickly identifies what has gone wrong and explains how it will recover the position for 2012-13.

If Network Rail fails to deliver its 2013-14 target it will be issued with a financial penalty that increases by £1.5m per 0.1 percentage point it drops below the 92% punctuality target.

The ORR said: “We are increasingly concerned that overall Network Rail is failing to achieve its commitments. We acknowledge that severe weather had an impact on the east coast and west coast main lines but diverse conditions or events can be expected in any year and Network Rail must be able to ‘bank’ enough good performance in benign conditions to compensate.”

Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director of network operations, responded: “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.

“More passengers are arriving on time on more trains than ever before. At the same time, we recognise we are falling short on some very tough performance targets set by the ORR and are determined to make further improvements.”

Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser at the Institute of Directors, said: “Businesses depend on reliable intercity rail services and Network Rail's poor performance is letting them down. Too often, people suffer delays on their way to important meetings and so have to build in extra time for their journeys. If Network Rail continues to miss its punctuality targets, the ORR must follow through on its threat of financial penalties.”

The Network Rail Monitor is at: www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.293

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