Monday 31 May 2004


Region & Route:
Train delays have reduced significantly, the quantity of track renewals is at a level not seen for many decades, the overall condition of the infrastructure improved and other performance indicators at best ever level – these are just some of the performance results of the first full year of Network Rail, announced today. The performance results for the year ending 31 March 2004 clearly show that the Company is making substantial steps in its task of rebuilding Britain’s railway: ·        Best train performance for four years with delays attributed to the Company falling by more than one million minutes to 13.7m from 14.7m ·        Improvement accelerated, with last six months of 2003/04 seeing close to 20% reduction in delays compared to same period in 2002/3 ·        First period in 04/05 (April) saw trend continue with around 85.7% of trains running on time – the best month since August 2000 ·        50% increase in points renewed – 380 units compared to 254 ·        36% increase in rail renewed - 853 miles compared to 627 ·        25% decrease in broken rails – 334 compared to 444 – the lowest level ever ·        23% increase in sleepers renewed – 509 miles compared to 414 ·        21% increase in ballast renewed – 501 miles compared to 413 ·        51% of the network’s maintenance now under Network Rail control (results compare 2003/4 with 2002/3) - more - Results - 2 Iain Coucher, Deputy Chief Executive said: “Train performance continues to show encouraging improvement.  There remains much to achieve, but the changes we have made, and are making, are delivering real results. “We’re undertaking unprecedented levels of activity out on the ground, renewing tired and worn-out infrastructure that has been starved of steady investment for many years.  Our ongoing success in reducing delays shows that we are delivering a real return on this investment, resulting in a better service to customers and improved punctuality for passengers.” The massive task of rebuilding our railways inevitably means that at times sections of the network have to be closed down to enable engineers to get in and make good on years of under investment.  Disruption to passengers will always be kept to a minimum with alternative services provided. Another milestone was reached over the weekend when a further 2,000 railway workers transferred from private contractors back in-house, bringing 51% of the maintenance of the UK rail network, and almost 8,000 maintenance staff,  under direct Network Rail control. Train performance has also significantly improved, with delays tumbling, in areas where maintenance has already been taken in-house.  In the Thames Valley area (which came in-house in June 2003), delays caused by infrastructure faults have fallen by 32% in the last six months. - ends - Notes to editors: ·            The overall improvement of one million minutes reduction in delays could have been even better except for two exceptional events – the heatwave last summer which necessitated the introduction of speed restrictions and the South London power black-out in September. Together they accounted for 280,000 delay minutes. Network Rail is the 'not for dividend' operator of Britain's rail network.  Our objective is to provide safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure. We own and maintain the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, and level crossings.  We also own the network’s 2,500 stations, and manage the largest and the busiest.  We provide access to the tracks for every passenger and freight train, timetable their journeys, and operate the signalling, which controls their movements. Network Rail is a company limited by guarantee with members instead of shareholders.  It is run as a commercial organisation, but any operating surplus is re-invested in the rail network. Our core focus is the operation, maintenance and renewal of existing rail infrastructure, with the Strategic Rail Authority taking the lead on enhancement projects. We have set clear targets to improve performance and reduce costs, but safety is always at the forefront of our activities as we rebuild Britain's railway. Details about the Company can be found on the Network Rail web site: For media enquiries please contact the Network Rail press office on 020 7557 8292/3

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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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