Rail franchises at risk as punctuality declines

THE PERFORMANCE of the privatised train companies has declined despite repeated warnings from the Government that those who fail will lose their franchises. Reliability and punctuality both worsened on average in the period from June to September, according to figures from the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (Opraf) published today. Performance by some train companies fell by as much as 7 per cent.

John O'Brien, the franchising director, said: "Overall performance over the last three months has shown no improvement and punctuality has continued to decline." He said he was still talking with operators about implementing action plans he called for in August.

Opraf said that reliability declined on 32 route groups, half of the entire network, while 26 improved compared with a year ago. Reliability of two train companies, North Western Trains and Wales and West, fell by more than 1 per cent. Punctuality also suffered a sharp fall with 42 route groups showing a decline and only 19 improving. Punctuality on three - Chiltern Trains, North Western Trains and Thames Trains - fell by 7 per cent, while Cardiff Railways' time-keeping dipped by 6 per cent. Mr O'Brien said Opraf was negotiating measures to boost performance.

The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said companies predicted that performance would only improve noticeably once the railways started to feel the benefit of the billions of pounds currently being invested in the system.

Ivor Warburton, chairman of Atoc, said: "We have got the builders in and billions in new investment is being poured into new trains, new track, new signalling and training new drivers. In the long term this will improve reliability and reduce congestion."

But he warned that some improvement programmes would cause extra delays during the construction work. He said the privatised companies were running thousands more train journeys than under British Rail.

Today's lacklustre figures come three months after Mr O'Brien condemned operators' "very unsatisfactory" performance. North Western and Chiltern were recently reprimanded by Opraf for poor performance and had to pay compensation to passengers. John Reid, a Transport minister, hammered home the message yesterday that operators failing to satisfy their passengers would not keep their franchises.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea