Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 16:22 UK

Train punctuality improves but East Coast route worsens

Javelin train at St Pancras station
Overall punctuality of services across Britain was up on last year

Train punctuality across Britain has improved compared with the same time last year but is worse on a main line in public hands, figures show.

Network Rail (NR) said the number of trains on time last month was up from 92.7% to 93.5% on the national network.

The worst showing was by government-run company East Coast, between London and Scotland, down 4.9% points to 87.0%.

East Coast said it had been affected by major disruptions due to severe weather conditions during the period involved.

'Continue to invest'

The best performing company was c2C on the London to Tilbury and Southend route with 97.5% of its trains on time.

The biggest improvement in performance was by Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line with a rise of 7.6% points to 91.0%.

Passengers continue to enjoy a high-performing, punctual railway
Robin Gisby
Network Rail

CrossCountry services saw a large fall in punctuality of 4.1% points to 89.2%.

Robin Gisby, NR's director of operations and customer services, said: "Passengers continue to enjoy a high-performing, punctual railway.

"We, and the train operators, continue to invest in the railway to make it even better by providing more capacity, better stations and fewer buses.

"The immediate threat of a national rail strike is behind us and talks to resolve the situation with our trades unions continue.

"We believe an amicable settlement, without the need for further ballots or threats of strike action, is possible."

'Robust plans'

The East Coast Main Line franchise was taken over by the Department for Transport in November 2009.

Falling revenue and rising costs had left previous operator National Express unable to meet a commitment to pay £1.4bn for the business until 2015.

East Coast said it was working closely with Network Rail to "deliver robust joint action plans" to improve punctuality.

A spokesman said: "Unfortunately, during this period, performance was affected by severe weather conditions, including landslips and flooding, which at two locations blocked our route for two days.

"We also had to contend with an increased number of fatalities, train fleet reliability issues and major engineering work over nine weekends at one of the busiest locations on the East Coast Main Line at Hitchin.

"We continued to operate trains through the Hitchin area on each weekend, at reduced speed, rather than having to transfer customers to replacement buses."

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