Number of trains on time reaches record high


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The Independent Online

The number of trains arriving on time reached a record high of more than nine out of 10 in recent weeks, according to new figures.

Punctuality reached 94% in the four weeks to mid-September, 1.5% better than the same time last year and the highest figure ever recorded for the period, said Network Rail.

Trains are counted as being punctual if they arrive at their destinations within five minutes for commuter services and within 10 minutes for long-distance services.

The best performing firms included c2c at 98.7% (compared with 97.5% in the same period last year), London Overground on 98.3% (96.6%) and Merseyrail with 96.4% (95.7%).

East Coast, which was temporarily re-nationalised by the Government three years ago - and today reported increased profits - showed an increase in punctuality from 86.8% to 93.3%.

Train crew shortages combined with a number of infrastructure problems such as a cable fault near Wolverhampton, signalling problems near Blackwell and a train failure contributed to a reduction in London Midland's performance over the last four weeks to 88.1% compared with 90.9% last year.

An East Coast spokesman said: "We are very much encouraged by this positive result - the best achieved on the East Coast route since current performance recording methods were adopted across the rail industry 13 years ago in 1999.

"This outstanding performance was delivered at the same time as East Coast was operating additional early morning and late evening services for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. These ran smoothly and, just as we saw during the Olympic Games, many new passengers were attracted to our trains for the first time."

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "With over 94% of trains arriving on time, these latest figures show train companies have worked hard with the rest of the industry to improve performance for passengers.

"However, we're not complacent and will continue to focus our efforts on providing passengers with the service they expect and deserve."