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Storm over rail punctuality

Eastbourne station, railway station from Cavendish Place bridge showing Southern Railway train in sidings. April 11th 2013 E15145P

Eastbourne station, railway station from Cavendish Place bridge showing Southern Railway train in sidings. April 11th 2013 E15145P

Southern Rail has been named as the worst train company for punctuality over the last month as severe storms caused much disruption to tracks and services.

Figures taken by Network Rail between December 8, 2013 and January 4, 2014 show Southern managed just 73.1 per cent of trains on time, compared to 83.7 per cent nationally.

Storm damage was to blame for much of the disruption to services; between December 23, 2013 and January 1, 2014, Southern Rail was forced to clear 72 fallen trees or other obstructions from the lines, while also coping with four major infrastructure failures.

On Christmas Eve alone, there were six incidences of flooding and two landslips.

Southeastern, the company that covers East Sussex and Kent, recorded 77.1 per cent of its trains on time - still below the national average, which itself had dropped from 88.3 per cent during the same four-week period in 2012-13.

A spokesperson from Southern Rail said, “December was massively challenging across the entire transport network as a result of repeated and ongoing extreme weather events. For Southern, tidal surges, trees and debris on the line, flooding and landslips caused delays and cancellations across the network on a number of days. Christmas Eve was our worst performing day. On that day, as with a number of other days, our principal focus was getting everyone home safely for Christmas, rather than on punctuality. While many trains did not reach their destination within five minutes of their booked time (and therefore ‘fail’ from a PPM perspective) we managed to keep people moving throughout this difficult time. Along with the weather, there were other factors that were within our control for which we apologise. Together with Network Rail, we are working hard on the reliability of our trains and infrastructure to prevent delays occurring, and that when they do, we work together to minimise the effect on our busy network.”

During this time, Southern also put two extra carriages onto some of their busiest trains.

 

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