Monday 16 Feb 2004
TRAIN DELAYS DROP IN THAMES VALLEY AREA
- Region & Route:
- Wales and Western
Network Rail is reporting a dramatic cut in delays to train services following its decision to take direct control of rail maintenance in the Thames Valley area.
Last summer, Network Rail terminated its contract with Amey, and itself became directly responsible for rail maintenance in the area. Since then, delays due to maintenance problems have dropped by 47% in four months, compared to a national drop of 26%.
In October, delay minutes fell from 83,000 the previous year to 47,000; in November they fell from 101,000 to 39,000; and in December they were down from 61,000 to 53,000.
The success of the move to take maintenance in-house has had far-reaching effects throughout the Great Western region, with the Thames Valley area responsible for maintaining the busy inter-city lines into London Paddington. By taking the contractor’s profits and overheads out of the equation, there has been more money to invest in maintenance. With the same person responsible for operations and maintenance, Network Rail can respond more quickly to any incident.
“Combined with significant improvements delivered this year by the train operators in the region, we are starting to make a big difference in overall performance for the fare-paying passenger,” said Great Western Regional Director John Curley.
But he said there was no room for complacency, despite the success of taking maintenance in-house. “We must not take our success for granted. We have benefited from the largely favourable weather this winter and we will need to continue our stringent effort to maintain these improvements.”
Network Rail has now taken direct control of maintenance on three areas with Wessex and East Midlands recently following Thames Valley. Plans are in place by Network Rail to take direct control of maintenance in all areas by midsummer 2004.
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