Rail punctuality reaches autumn record

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The Independent Travel

Rail punctuality, badly hit by the recent floods, reached record autumn levels in the weeks before the storms, it was revealed today.

Figures showed that 90.2 per cent of trains ran on time in the period October 18 to November 14 - the first time a 90 per cent figure has been recorded during an autumnal four-week period, Network Rail (NR) announced.

The figure compared with 87.6 per cent for the same period in 2008.

The best performer this autumn was Merseyrail, which ran 96.4 per cent of trains on time, while First TransPennine Express had the biggest improvement, jumping more than 8 per cent to 91.3 per cent.

The worst-performing company was London commuter service operator First Capital Connect (FCC), which has had to introduce a reduced timetable due to driver shortages in recent weeks.

FCC punctuality slipped from 88.0 per cent in autumn 2008 to 86.8 per cent in autumn this year. It was one of only two companies - the other was London Overground - where punctuality fell this autumn.

Due to the annual leaves-on-the-line problem, autumn service punctuality is normally comparatively low, so NR was delighted with the latest figures.

NR operations and customer service director Robin Gisby said: "To deliver an even better service for passengers we have to deliver consistently across the year.

"Today's results are encouraging and are the result of the industry investing heavily in technology and techniques to lessen the impact of autumn."

An Association of Train Operating Companies spokesman said: "This is good news for passengers who rightly expect to see punctuality at record levels. Train operators know that good, punctual services result in passengers being satisfied with their journey.

"With more than three million passengers using the train every day, the recent national passenger survey shows a record number of 81% of passengers are now satisfied with their journey.

"However, train companies know that they must continue to work closely with Network Rail to deliver an even better service."