Network Rail spends more on track work as delays increase

Marion Dakers
NETWORK Rail, the operator of Britain’s train tracks, spent £15m a day on upgrade work in the six months to the end of September, as the group added £253m to its debt pile to take the total past £30.6bn.

The government-funded company said it invested a third more than it did a year ago on improvements to the network, yet punctuality levels fell to 90.7 per cent during the period, compared to 91.7 per cent a year ago.

“Train performance is still at high levels by historical standards, but has fallen behind our targets as we struggle to get more and more out of an ever overloaded network,” said finance director Patrick Butcher.

The Office of Rail Regulation last month set out its final budget for Network Rail over the next five years, proposing £35.5bn of investing alongside a 20 per cent cut to day-to-day operating costs.

The spending plan comes with tougher targets on punctuality.