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One in seven trains late in worst results for 13 years

‘Toll on family life’: Passengers wait at London Waterloo amid disruption PICTURE: REX

ONE in seven trains was late in the year to the end of September, figures show.

Only 85.9 per cent of services met the rail industry’s punctuality target, the Office of Rail and Road said.

That is down 2.5 percentage points on the previous 12 months — and the worst performance since December 2005.

The fall was partly due to the chaotic introduction of new timetables in May.

Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, called it ‘outrageous’ that fares will go up by an average of 3.1 per cent next month despite falling standards.

‘At the very least, fares should rise no higher than the Consumer Price Index and be frozen altogether on routes that were impacted by the timetable chaos,’ he said. ‘The inability of the government to deliver a reliable service is playing havoc with people’s work and family lives.’

The big freeze brought by the Beast from the East in February also affected the figures. And punctuality suffered as speed restrictions were imposed during the summer heatwave because of the risk of rails buckling in the sunshine.

Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway services were affected by the timetable fiasco. Robert Nisbet, of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said the problems added to pressure on ‘one of the most congested railways in Europe’.

He added: ‘To ease pressure so customers get the railway they want, we’re delivering record investment in infrastructure — but this can’t come at the cost of today’s punctuality.’

Govia is to add an extra 200 Monday to Friday services on Thameslink and Great Northern services as part of nationwide timetable changes on Sunday that will mean minor adjustments for most.

Mr Nisbet said bosses aimed to show they had learned the lessons from May.