Network Rail has been given a month long extension by the rail regulator to draw up “robust” plans to improve passenger train punctuality.
In December the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said there were too many late, long distance passenger and freight trains and so Network Rail had breached its licence.
The company now has until the end of March to draw up plans showing that it is doing “everything reasonably practicable” to improve performance in 2012/13.
The company must also set up a “recovery board” comprising its freight customers that will put forward improvement ideas that should be put into action if reasonable.
The board is due to meet on 13 February but there is no timetable on implementing recommendations. However, a spokesperson said “obviously we are taking this issue very seriously”.
Meanwhile Nework Rail has released data across passenger trains including long distance and other journeys that show on average 91.6% of trains were on time over the past 12 months.
This “moving annual average” figure is based on adding together monthly scores from all the train companies over the past 12 month period and finding the average.
These figures also show an improvement between 11 December and 7 January, compared with the same period last year, from 81.1% to 88.7%.
However, looking at the Public Performance Measure (PPM) figures on Network Rail’s website indicates that in 2008/9, 90.6% of trains were on time, which then improved to 91.5% for 2009/10. In 2010/11 this fell back down to 90.6%.
Long distance passenger trains are recorded as on time if they reach their destination within 10 minutes of the scheduled arrival. Other trains have a five minute leeway.