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Rail punctuality figures revealed

Fewer than half the trains ran on time on some main line routes in the last 12 months, according to official figures.

Virgin Trains was only able to operate 48.9% of trains on time on the West Coast main line in the 12 months ending April 27 2013 while the CrossCountry company only managed a figure of 46.1%.

The statistics from Network Rail (NR) were based on "right time" performances in which trains are only regarded as being punctual if they arrive within 59 seconds of the timetabled time.

Under the 59-second rule, the NR table showed 68.0% of trains nationally were on time in the 12-month period ending April 27 this year.

Train companies below the average figure included Southern (55.5% punctuality), First ScotRail (59.8%) ,East Coast (60.9%) and First TransPennine Express (63.8%).

Best-performing company was London Overground (86.8%) followed by Chiltern (86.5%).

NR also released regional figures for the four-week period ending April 27 based on the 59-second rule.

Overall, 72.3% of trains ran on time during this period, although long-distance operators only managed a figure of 58.0%.

NR also announced today the latest monthly punctuality figures based on commuter trains arriving within five minutes of the scheduled time and long-distance services arriving within 10 minutes of the scheduled time.

These are the figures on which rail regulators judge NR's performance and they showed that nationally in the period from April 28 to May 25 this year, 93.5% of trains were on time.

This compared with a figure of 92.3% for the same period last year.

Virgin Trains (85.7%), London Midland (89.2%) and East Coast (89.4%), were the only companies to fall beneath 90%, with the London to Tilbury and Southend company c2c being the best-performing company, with a figure of 98.2%.

NR said infrastructure, overhead line and signalling equipment problems caused the majority of delays on the West Coast Main Line during the period, thus impacting upon Virgin's punctuality.

It added that a series of measures to address performance on the southern end of the West Coast route would be announced in the next few weeks.

Rail investment welcomed by Stansted Airport

Officials at Stansted Airport in Essex have welcomed plans by Network Rail to spend more than £2 billion improving the rail infrastructure in our region.

More than £35 billion is set to be invested across the UK, over the next five years.

Airport bosses hope the plans will help to make the 'Stansted in 30' campaign a reality.

Essex County Council also welcomed the announcement, acknowledging the need for an improved rail infrastructure for commuters, business and the economy in this region.

Derrick Louis, Essex County Councilor for Highways and Transportation said:

“Essex is planning significant growth over the next few years, which will place increased pressure on our rail network... We hope that the planned schemes and infrastructure improvements will increase the capacity and reliability of the rail service in our region, providing significant improvements to the infrastructure and rolling stock.

“While the proposed £2.2bn investment set out by Network Rail will cater for growth in the coming years, we believe that further investment will be needed for new railway infrastructure in the long-term, and we will continue to press for this”.

– Essex County Council

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Rail investment: East Coast main line

Rail infrastructure set for investment Credit: ITV Anglia

By next year passengers can expect trains to be less packed. A new flyover at Hitchin will carry trains from London to Cambridge over the main line, relieving a key bottleneck.

New platforms planned for Peterborough should increase capacity and reduce congestion there.

From 2014 new trains through the Intercity Express Programme will provide more seats, and £240m will be invested in key pinch points on the East Coast main line including Peterborough.

Rail investment: West Coast main line

Rail infrastructure set for investment Credit: ITV Anglia

From next year services from Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central will be reintroduced. The railway line between Oxford and Bedford via Bicester Town and Bletchley will also be electrified. But the plans are wrapped with a warning.

From 2024 the West Coast main line - as Britain's busiest and most economically vital rail artery - will be full with no more space to accommodate the expected growth in demand.

Network Rail believe HS2 would solve the capacity crunch set to face passengers and businesses on the line.

Rail investment: Midland main line

Rail infrastructure set for investment Credit: ITV Anglia

At the moment commuters have to settle for a diesel railway with an ageing infrastructure, by 2020 they'll get to travel on one of the most modern electric railways in Europe.

The overhead lines will be built using the latest technology for reliability and efficiency, whilst signalling will be controlled from Network Rail's state of the art control centre in Derby.

  • £60m could be saved every year once the line is electrified from Bedford to Sheffield. This will also reduce carbon emissions by 13,000 tonnes annually.
  • Thameslink: By 2018, there will be up to 24 services through central London as part of Thameslink, the majority of which will be 12-car trains. The Thameslink programme will also provide passengers from Cambridge with new trains and more destinations.

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Rail investment: Anglia Route

Railway investment plans Credit: ITV Anglia

Anglia Route: lines out of Liverpool Street including Great Eastern main line

There are several big developments on this line. The completion of the overhead line upgrade on the Great Eastern main line, track renewal and new signalling is a major component of the 2014 - 2019 plans.

Another priority is finishing the Crossrail service from Shenfield to Liverpool Street.

That development will lead to:

  • More seats and direct services to Thames Valley, central London and Heathrow Airport.
  • New Crossrail station at Liverpool Street will free up platform space, enabling opportunities for more services on the Great Eastern main line.

In addition Network Rail are committed to examining how to improve journey times on the line.

High cost of West Coast rail franchise fiasco

West Coast franchise bidding failures could cost the Government £40m Credit: PA

The cancellation of the competition process to run trains on the West Coast Mainline has cost the taxpayer at least £9 million and that number could reach £40 million, according to The National Audit Office.

The franchise was initially awarded to First Group, but the bidding process was cancelled after Virgin Rail applied for a judicial review into the decision. It has since emerged that the bidding process was flawed.

The government may now have to reimburse rail companies the cost of their bids to run the franchise.

It was announced yesterday that Virgin Rail will continue to run the service, which goes though Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire, until 2015