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ORR report shows Network Rail adrift of targets

Network Rail is improving its performance on punctuality, but is still short of its targets, a new analysis from the ORR shows.

The quarterly report covers the period between July 22 and October 13, and highlights how Network Rail is collaborating well the train operating companies in developing and implementing plans to boost performance.

This is supported by a new £79m performance recovery fund.

The ORR has previously had concerns about the company’s plans to deliver improved punctuality, especially on long distance services.

Punctuality levels on long distance services have risen to 89.2% from the same period last year, but are still a drift of the target of 92% for 2013/14. Network Rail has also set out how it will deliver improvements on the London and South East route to hit its performance target of 93% in 2013/14.

If Network Rail misses its targets next year, the ORR has stated it will enforce a financial penalty that reflects the extent of the failure to meet the commitment, increasing by £1.5m per 0.1 percentage point it drops below the 92% punctuality target.

Richard Price, ORR chief executive, said: “Rail passengers expect to see their trains running on time, and we expect Network Rail, working with train operators, to play its full part in making that happen.

“Punctuality is still short of where it needs to be on some key routes. But we are seeing signs of improvement as Network Rail has, in recent months, demonstrated a real drive to develop fresh solutions to long-standing problems which undermined punctuality. It has forged closer links with train operators, developing stronger plans to maintain improvements. We are particularly impressed with recovery in Scotland which has seen sustained performance close to best ever levels. This is exactly the response to our performance challenge that we wanted to see.

“In recent weeks, challenging weather conditions across Britain have led to travel disruption. We are watching closely to see how the rail industry manages this to minimise inconvenience to its customers. We expect Network Rail to deliver improved performance and meet its targets by 2014, and will, on behalf of passengers, maintain pressure on the company to do so.”

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