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Network Rail reports best punctuality for a decade

Network Rail's interim results show the best train punctuality for a decade, averaging 91% for the six months to 30 September 2007.

Strong financial results provided the backdrop to an improving service. An average of 90.87% of trains ran on time over the first six months of the year (April to September), which is the highest level for a decade and Network Rail has reduced its delay minutes for the half-year over the past five years by 40%.

Network Rail reported a pre-tax profit of £780m compared to £747m last year (a 4% increase), capital expenditure of £1.7bn, up by £243m against last year.

Income was £3bn compared to £2.9bn for same period last year and net debt reduced slightly by £148m to £18.25bn from £18.39bn at 31 March 2007.

Network Rail is reducing costs, and £1.7bn - 26% - has been taken out of the cost of operating and maintaining the railway infrastructure in the past three years. Key safety indicators, such as broken rails and drivers passing red signals, are also at record low levels.

Network Rail Chairman Ian McAllister said: "The company's performance over the past six months demonstrates the increasing strength and stability of the national railway network.

"We will maintain a daily focus on the delivery of a safe, reliable and efficient railway, while also looking to the future - growing the capacity of the network and creating an even greener railway for customers.

"We have outlined plans of how we'd like to expand and develop the network over the next five years and beyond.

"This will deliver more trains, more seats, more frequently. With passenger numbers at a 60-year high and freight use up more than 50% in the last 10 years, the need to boost capacity on the network is clear. Network Rail will play its part in making this happen."

Commenting on Network Rail's performance figures published today Anthony Smith, CEO of Passenger Focus the consumer rail watchdog indicated that Network Rail still had some way to go.

"It is good news that Network Rail’s focus on getting more trains to depart and arrive on time is paying dividends for passengers. Getting more than nine out of ten trains to run on time is good but we would like to see Network Rail improve on this."

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