First Group trumps Virgin on rail delays

Marion Dakers
YESTERDAY’S Office of Rail Regulation’s performance figures were good news for West Coast rail customers who will see First Group take over the route from Virgin.

Many of First Group’s franchises have beaten Virgin in the punctuality stakes. First Capital Connect, which carries commuters into central London, completed 90 per cent of its journeys within five minutes of their scheduled time in the last financial year, while 96 per cent arrived within 20 minutes.

Virgin, meanwhile, managed 75.3 per cent within a five minute window, rising to 93 per cent within 20 minutes on the West Coast line linking Glasgow to London.

Great Western, a long-distance route currently run by First but up for fresh bids later this year, saw 89.2 per cent of its trains run on time to within five minutes.

First fares worse when it comes to passenger satisfaction, however. The latest survey by Passenger Focus shows 77.5 per cent of First Capital Connect customers were satisfied with the service, putting them among the most unhappy rail travellers in the country. Virgin, meanwhile, scored an average of 91 – making its customers some of the happiest in Britain.