Thursday 22 Jan 2004

NETWORK RAIL REDUCES ITS DELAYS BY ALMOST HALF IN WALES AND THE WEST COUNTRY

Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western
Network Rail reduced delays in its Great Western region (an area that includes the Thames Valley, the West Country and Mid and South Wales) by almost half over the last three months of 2003 compared with 2002, figures reveal. In the three months to December 2003, the amount of minutes lost attributed to the company in the Great Western region tumbled by 42 per cent. For mid and south Wales (the area of Wales for which the Great Western region of Network Rail is responsible) delivered a very respectable 39% reduction. Nationally, the company announced its best performance for the last quarter of the year for four years with delays down by 26%. UK-wide, the reduction means that delay minutes were at their lowest level for this quarter since before the crash at Hatfield (17 October 2000).  Total delay minutes for October – December 2003 were 3.3 million compared to 4.4 million in the same period the previous year, 3.4 million in 2001 and 7.9 million in 2000.  John Curley, Great Western Regional Director said: “These figures underline the commitment of staff and is testament to the heavy investment Network Rail is ploughing into infrastructure in this region. “The rail industry in this area is well placed to build on these figures and we will not hide from the challenges ahead. It is only by working together that we can deliver further improvements for all who use and have a stake in the region’s rail network.” Performance - 2 Iain Coucher, Network Rail Deputy Chief Executive, said: “Rail performance is showing welcome signs of significant improvement. There are many more challenges to be faced, but we are heading in the right direction. We are absolutely committed to making further improvements in train punctuality and making our contribution towards a better service for our customers and the passenger.” Other areas of performance UK-wide have also shown significant improvement:- ·        Delays per incident have been reduced  (the first sustained drop for almost four years) with infrastructure causes down by some 16% ·        Network Rail’s share of total delay has fallen over the last three months. The company is responsible for 46% of rail delays; within this total external factors (suicides, lineside fires, broken gas mains etc) contribute some 10-12%. Just over a year ago Network Rail’s proportion of delays stood at almost 60%.
  • Broken rails stand at 220 in the year to date, 23% down on the 2002/03 figure.  This compares to a peak annual number of 952 broken rails in 1998/9.
  Mr Coucher concluded: “These figures are a testament to the work Network Rail has done since acquiring Railtrack in October 2002. Attention to detail, heavy investment in maintenance and renewals, addressing the root causes of delay, outstanding effort by our staff and closer co-operation with the train operators have all contributed to this tangible, and irrefutable, sign of improvement. “Clear progress can now be seen in our work to address the mistakes of the past. The drive to deliver even better performance continues as we reorganise the company and bring 18,500 maintenance staff in-house which will enable us to focus even more clearly on delivering improvements for the passenger.”

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About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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