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Editorial: Great job, Network Rail. All punctuality targets missed

Nearly two out of every three taxpayer-subsidised trains arrived late

“Must do better,” says the Office of Rail Regulation. And how. Taxpayer-subsidised Network Rail missed every single punctuality target last year. In layman’s terms, that means that nearly two of every three trains were late.

The good news is that the watchdog is talking tough. The threat of fines and new, more stringent targets all sound promising. Then again, is it really so stretching to expect nine out of 10 trains to run on time? And can a ticking off from the regulator, even one that comes with a price tag, really be expected to cut through the management excuses when top directors are still walking off with whopping bonuses, as they did last week? Never mind the fines for the company, then – they only eat into the investment budget, anyway. Why not levy them on executive bonuses, instead?