62,000 rail services cancelled last year

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The Independent Online

More than 62,000 rail services were cancelled in Britain last year, according to figures released today.

The companies worst affected were London Midland and Virgin, which lost around 1.7 per cent of their services largely due to disruption caused by the upgrading of the West Coast main line.



Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker, who obtained the figures from the Association of Train Operating Companies after tabling a question in Parliament, said that passengers were being hit not only by cancelled trains but also by soaring ticket prices.



But an ATOC spokesman said that, while every lost service was regretted, the cancellations amounted to less than 1% of the 6.5 million trains scheduled last year.



In total, some 62,640 scheduled services failed to run between January 2008 and January 2009, not including those which were replaced by bus services, according to the ATOC figures.



Mr Baker said: "Not only do we have the most expensive railway in Europe, but passengers in Britain are expected to put up with tens of thousands of cancelled trains every year.



"The Government would rather shift costs on to passengers than pay for better services and more trains.



"We need to raise standards on the railways, with longer franchises and tough passenger satisfaction targets to bring in much needed investment."



The ATOC spokesman said: "Obviously any cancellation is not acceptable, but this is a low number overall, when you consider we run 20,000 trains a day.



"Passenger satisfaction is higher than it has ever been and we expect new figures being brought out soon to confirm that. The most recent survey showed that 80% of passengers were satisfied with their service or thought it was good."

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