Track troubles make Virgin worst for late trains

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Infrastructure problems on a main London to Scotland rail route contributed to an overall dip in train punctuality last month.

The difficulties, which included overhead line and track problems, meant Virgin Trains was able to run only 82.9 per cent of services on time on its West Coast route in the period April 29 to May 26. Overall, train companies ran 92.3 per cent of trains on time with 93.7 per cent in the same period last year, rail infrastructure company Network Rail (NR) said.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has already warned NR to improve punctuality on long-distance services, including the West Coast line.

Today, Virgin Trains said the infrastructure problems on the West Coast line – which are the responsibility of NR – were “unacceptable” and that the ORR’s action “does not deal adequately with the immediate issues”.

Virgin went on: “We are concerned with the lack of focus on immediate improvement, as we and our customers must see short-term progress, especially as the Olympics and Paralympics will be a showcase for the industry.”

Apart from Virgin, the poorest-performing company was the other main London to Scotland operator, East Coast, which ran only 87.6 per cent of its trains on time.