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Rail delays ‘worst for 12 years’

Railway signal

Figures from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show one in seven trains were delayed in the last year – the worst disruption seen for 12 years.

The statistics for the 12 months to August come after disruption caused by harsh weather – including the ‘Beast from the East’ storm that brought widespread cancellations in February and March – as well as the chaos brought on by the introduction of a new timetable in May.

On Thursday, the ORR will publish a report into what went wrong with the new timetable, and transport secretary Chris Grayling is expected to announce a review of the way the UK’s railways are run.

The current figures show 14 per cent of trains failed to meet the industry standard for punctuality. This is the highest level of delays since 2006, when 14.2 per cent of trains ran behind schedule.

The Rail Delivery Group has said it is working with Network Rail and the train companies to improve services, claiming it is “investing billions to ease congestion, reduce delays and minimise disruption”.

As passengers prepare for a 3.2 per cent increase in fares in January, consumer group Which? says confidence in the industry is in decline.

Which? CEO Peter Vicary-Smith said: “These latest statistics are damning but unsurprising given a year of delays and cancellations that have left many passengers at their wits’ end. We’ve shared hundreds of stories with the regulator – including from people who have frequently missed their child’s bedtimes and faced losing jobs as a result of the chaos. With trust in the industry at an all-time low, it is vital that the outcome of any inquiry or review reflects the needs and experiences of passengers.”

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