Network Rail set to be fined as planning mistakes cause delays

Marion Dakers
NETWORK Rail is facing a multi-million pound fine for causing unacceptable delays over the winter, the industry regulator warned yesterday.

Overrunning engineering work over Christmas and “basic operational planning mistakes” were behind the slip in punctuality on English and Welsh railways, said the Office of Rail Regulation.

Around 88.3 per cent of long-distance trains arrived within ten minutes of their expected time, slightly better than the 87.1 per cent level seen last year but still “well adrift” of the ORR’s targets.

The score improved to 91.4 per cent for London and the south east.

The group in charge of Britain’s railway infrastructure can be fined £1.5m for every 0.1 percentage point it falls below its 92 per cent punctuality target in 2013-14.

“Network Rail’s operational performance on parts of Britain’s rail network has been poor over recent months,” said ORR boss Richard Price.

“[We are] concerned that the company is losing touch with key performance targets as passengers again suffered poor performance during challenging weather conditions.”

The regulator called on Network Rail to improve its performance in bad weather, highlighting the “admirable flood recovery responses” in parts of the country.