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Delays caused by 'cows on the line'

Train travellers, who sometimes feel their journeys are by cattle class, have been given a new excuse for delays - cows on the line.

The bovine problem led to 15 train cancellations on a West Midlands' section of the West Coast line between Nuneaton and Rugby last month, Network Rail (NR) said.

Other cancellations in May 2011 included ones on the East Coast line and in the Anglia region caused by cable theft leading to signal failure, NR said.

Overall, 93.7% of trains ran on time in May 2011 - matching the figure for May 2010.

Only the East Coast company (85.9%) and West Coast operator Virgin Trains (89.6%) had punctuality of less than 90% last month.

The best-performing company last month was the London to Tilbury and Southend operator c2c which ran 97.5% of trains on time.

Other companies that did particularly well in May 2011 included Merseyrail (97.4% of trains on time), London Overground (96.2%), Arriva Trains Wales (95.4%) and First TransPennine Express (also 95.4%).