More trains on schedule with help of mild start to winter

Early winter train punctuality this year improved compared with the snow-hit start to winter 2010/11, it has been announced.

A total of 88.4 per cent of trains ran on time in the period November 13 to December 10 2011 – a rise on the 82 per cent figure for the same period last year, Network Rail (NR) said. The 2010 statistics were affected by the heavy snow in November last year, while bad weather had less impact on this year’s early winter performance.

The company worst hit in recent weeks was First ScotRail where gale force winds and bad weather in Scotland at the start of December meant that only 84.8 per cent of the company’s trains ran on time during the period from November 13 to December 10 this year. Even so, this was an improvement on the same period last year when only 72.1 per cent of ScotRail trains ran on time.

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The best-performing company in the most recent weeks was London Overground which ran as many as 97.4 per cent of trains on time. The punctuality results follow a warning earlier this week from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) that NR was falling short of its long-distance services’ punctuality target. The warning was followed, the next day, by the announcement that rail fares would rise on January 2 by an average of 5.9 per cent.

The ORR and Department for Transport have announced a joint consultation on plans to give the ORR more powers to protect passengers’ interests.