Train operator improves its punctuality

Train operator One today announced it had again increased its punctuality times, with 92.4pc of services running on time last month.

Train operator One today announced it had again increased its punctuality times, with 92.4pc of services running on time last month.

It described the month as its “best period result since the start of the franchise” exactly three years ago - and said that timings on the mainline between Norwich and London were the best for seven years.

The improvements came despite 24 hours of disruption on April 19 and 20 after an overhead electricity cable fell on to the line near Chelmsford leading to train cancellations and overcrowding on those still running.

There were also long delays and cancellations on the mainline on April 31 when level crossings at Stowmarket failed to close, with train drivers instructed to go slow and give motorists the right of way.

Both these problems were due to faulty infrastructure on the eastern mainline, and are the responsibility of Network Rail.

Figures released by One show that 90.4pc of services between London and Norwich during April arrived within 10 minutes of when they were supposed to, the official performance indicator for intercity services.

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For branch lines that indicator comes down to trains arriving within five minutes of when they are supposed to, with One recording a 93.3pc figure on the Cambridge, Sheringham, Yarmouth and Lowestoft services.

But the region's main rail operator might face a tough time improving on the mainline figures next month, with long delays already recorded due to a suicide on the line near Colchester on Tuesday and a broken down train later that day.

Andrew Chivers, managing director of One, said yesterday: “We still need to extend these positive results into an ongoing trend, but the improvements since the launch of our joint performance plan augur well for the future.”

Network Rail will begin overhauling electricity cables between London and Chelmsford this winter, having brought forward the £40m scheme under pressure from a consortium of Norfolk MPs.

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