A Fylde coast transport campaigner says there is an “unacceptable” lack of punctuality on the nation’s railways after new figures were released by the industry regulator.
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) says Network Rail fell “significantly short” of its 92 per cent punctuality target for long-distance passenger services in 2013/14, with a figure of 89.6 per cent.
Reacting to the findings Paul Nettleton, chairman of the Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users Association, said: “It’s important that Network Rail provide an efficient and reliable service, and we’re not getting that.
“If you’ve got connections at Preston they’ve got to be reliable connections and people need to know they’re going to be able to get them.”
He added: “The amount of signal failures they get is unacceptable, and in hot weather the track can buckle. You’ve got to look after the little things and the little things look after the big things.”
Because of the failure, Network Rail now must return £53.1m to the Treasury in what is effectively a fine.
On long-distance performance in the five years ending March 2014, the ORR said Network Rail “did not deliver all of its plans to improve performance and, particularly in the early years of the (five year) funding period, had insufficient knowledge of the condition of its key assets, such as earthworks, electrical equipment and drainage.”
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “We accept that we have fallen short of the regulatory targets for train punctuality and that this is, in part, down to our failure to reduce infrastructure faults quickly enough.”