One pleased with improved punctuality

The main train operator serving the eastern region yesterday heralded its best monthly performance figures since last June.

The main train operator serving the eastern region yesterday heralded its best monthly performance figures since last June.

In the four weeks to March 31, 90.1pc of One Railway services arrived at their destination on time.

Most impressive were rural services out of Norwich on the Cambridge, Sheringham, Yarmouth and Lowestoft lines, where 93pc of services arrived within five minutes of the published arrival time.

But news was not so good for commuters on the main intercity London line, where 11.6pc of trains still arrived at least 10 minutes late.

One's managing director, Andrew Chivers, said: "The improved punctuality scores reflect the efforts of our employees and those in Network Rail, who have been working hard to provide customers with the best possible service.

"We recognise there's more to do and that it is the consistent delivery of good performance which our customers are seeking, but the last month's results indicate we're making progress and tackling the right issues to raise performance standards."

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In the latest quarterly figures published by the Office of Rail Regulation last week, One Railway had the second-worst punctuality record of all the long-distance train companies.

Almost a quarter of its mainline services reached the destination more than 10 minutes later than they were supposed to, half a percentage point better than worst performer First Greater Western, which scored a 76pc punctuality record. In contrast, 91.5pc of Midland Mainline's trains were on time.

Both Midland Mainline and One are owned by the National Express Group.

On branch lines, One also scored the third-worst figures for punctuality, with 11.4pc of peak time trains arriving more than five minutes late.

In a recent report on One and Network Rail, Norfolk MPs Ian Gibson, Norman Lamb and Richard Bacon called for the two companies to do far more to improve punctuality for East Anglia's commuters.

Last month, the companies announced a 10-point action plan to address the key causes of disruption and delay, including upgrades and extra resources to improve the reliability of trains and infrastructure.

Some changes are already in place, including locking doors 30 seconds before departure from London Liverpool Street. And Network Rail will start work this winter on replacing overhead power lines out of the capital, the major cause of disruption last year.

But, with power lines expanding in hot weather, causing major delays, One will be bracing itself for a repeat of last year's problems should temperatures reach similar levels this summer.