Train times better - but fares a worry

Rail passengers in East Anglia have experienced more trains arriving on time in recent months but improvements must still be made, according to new figures.

Rail passengers in East Anglia have experienced more trains arriving on time in recent months but improvements must still be made, according to new figures.

Independent watchdog the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) today published its National Trends yearbook chronicling the performance of the rail industry. Nationally it shows the highest annual percentage of trains on time since 1999 at 86.4 per cent.

Operator One came in just below this average at 86.1pc and punctuality last year declined compared with 2004/5. But since January its performance has improved significantly with 88.4pc of trains arriving within five minutes of their scheduled time.

However, passenger survey results showed that although progress is being made in terms of cleanliness and comfort more people are concerned about the price of their ticket and the length of their journey time. Only 28pc said they were satisfied with the value for money offered.

Spokesman Peter Meades said: “We had a poor autumn but this was largely due to factors outside our control. Our performance in the spring shows an improvement and there are more improvements to come.

“Our investment in replacement locomotives is now beginning to pay off as our technicians learn how to get the best out of them, our refurbished carriages are now in operation and the last old carriage will be removed from service next week and, above all, Network Rail's performance has improved over the last few months.

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“In terms of punctuality we have made progress in the last six months and we believe performance will continue to get better.

“Once the big issues like punctuality are resolved we can then focus on areas like cleanliness.”

Compared to One and the national average, punctuality on Central trains was worse with only 85.1pc of services arriving on time during spring.

But this represents a recovery after disappointing figures for the same period last year when only 74.6pc were on schedule. Over the year punctuality stood at 79.1pc, a 2.5pc rise on the previous year.

Managing director Steve Banaghan said: “The figures show that the hard work is paying off and is now delivering a sustained level of improvement month after month.

“These figures are encouraging, but there is much more that we are doing to ensure that we continue to improve and deliver the level of services our passengers want.”

WAGN services showed a slight improvement with punctuality at 89.5pc, up a fraction of a percent on the previous year.