London: Late trains will get worse, say operators : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

London: Late trains will get worse, say operators

By Paul Marston, Transport Correspondent

TRAIN punctuality fell to pre-privatisation levels this summer and is likely to worsen in the autumn, said rail companies yesterday.

Figures from the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority showed that late running increased on 21 of the 25 franchise networks between June and September, compared with the same period last year. Despite their trains being given 10 minutes' leeway before being officially counted as late, none of the six inter-city operators ran even 85 per cent of services "on time".

One in four Virgin CrossCountry trains was behind schedule, a performance only marginally worse than GNER, which runs trains between London and Edinburgh, generally considered Britain's fastest line. Its serious delays or cancellations soared by 92 per cent. The company said that its trains had "run well", and most of the hold-ups were because of "external factors" such as security alerts.

Punctuality slipped in all 10 commuter operations in the South-East. The worst performers, South West Trains, Chiltern and Connex South Central, recorded at least 35 per cent more late arrivals than last summer. The Association of Train Operating Companies admitted that the "disappointing" statistics for the last three months meant that the annualised punctuality rate was at its lowest since early 1996, when nearly all franchises were operated by British Rail.

George Muir, the director-general, said performance was likely to "dip further" in the autumn because of seasonal slippery conditions created by leaves on lines.

-- Carl Jenkins (, October 07, 2000

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