Train firm's timekeeping boost

Central Trains recorded their best timekeeping for seven years, according to figures from the independent Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR).The train company, which operates services from Norwich to the Midlands and North West, posted an improvement in punctuality throughout the autumn and early winter of 2006.

Central Trains recorded their best timekeeping for seven years, according to figures from the independent Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR).

The train company, which operates services from Norwich to the Midlands and North West, posted an improvement in punctuality throughout the autumn and early winter of 2006.

Nearly 83 per cent of services arrived within five minutes of their advertised times, an improvement of 10pc over the same period in 2005 when 72pc of services were punctual, and a 16pc improvement over 2004's figure.

This was achieved during what is traditionally a difficult time of year for railway operations.

The report also shows that the underlying trend for Central Trains performance is on the up, with the moving annual average (MAA) for performance by the company, which runs over 1,300 train services a day, rising from 76.6pc in 2005 to 84.2pc in 2006.

Central Trains managing director Steve Banaghan said: “I'm delighted that our operational performance throughout autumn and winter showed double figure improvement.

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“A lot of work, by both our staff and our industry partner, Network Rail, has contributed to this improvement. Even so, we will continue to aim higher, keeping up the momentum in order to give our passengers the high levels of punctuality that they expect.”

Peter Lawrence, the Norwich-based president of pressure group Railfuture, said: “The figures are encouraging but the most important thing is weekend trains.

“We have seen before Christmas industrial trouble where trains did not run, and we also get peculiar situations at weekends where services are not cancelled.

“Sunday working for Central drivers is entirely voluntary. On several Sundays there have been train cancellations because drivers did not turn up. Crews need to be properly rostered so passengers know the trains will turn up.”