Tuesday 21 January 2020 1:46 pm

Network Rail investigated for 'poor performance' in Midlands and north west

Network Rail is being investigated over poor performance on train lines in the northwest and the Midlands.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has put the company on a warning over the performance on Northern and TransPennine Express routes.

Network Rail is publicly-owned, and operates the UK’s physical rail infrastructure, such as tracks, signalling systems and most stations.

The regulator said performance got worse in 2018, and that it did not get much better last year.

Network Rail’s contribution to passenger train delays across the country was 58 per cent last year. 

That is down 1.1 percentage points compared with 2018.

The operator is part-way through an improvement plan for the northwest and central regions.

And in a letter to Network Rail seen by City A.M., ORR chief executive John Larkinson acknowledged that recent cancellations on the Trans Pennine Express were “largely” a result of failures by the train operators, which are separate to Network Rail.

Nevertheless, he said, the ORR is looking into Network Rail’s improvement plans for the region.

Larkinson said: “We are putting the company on a warning to make sure its improvement plans deliver for passengers.”

The ORR will look into whether the improvement plan it is doing “all it reasonably can to improve service for passengers”.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “For too many months, passengers – particularly in the Midlands and the north – have been coping with very poor train services.

“It simply isn’t good enough and, on behalf of the rail industry, I’d like to apologise. We have let you down.

“There is no quick-fix, but fix it we will, and a cross-industry task force has been pulled together to tackle the problems head-on.

“I want them to cut through the red tape and deliver solutions quickly that will bring improvements for passengers in the near future.

“It will need more reliable assets, a much more reliable train plan and more robust operator resource plans.”

Main image credit: Network Rail

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