Train companies improve on punctuality

The region's rail passenger companies last night pledged to make further developments to their services after seeing an improvement in train punctuality.

The region's rail passenger companies last night pledged to make further developments to their services after seeing an improvement in train punctuality.

New figures published by the Office of Rail Regulation yesterday revealed that 87.8pc of trains across the country ran on time last autumn - an almost 1pc increase compared to the same three month period in 2007.

National Express East Anglia, which operates along the London to Norwich mainline, scored above the national average with an 88.5pc punctuality rating in the third quarter of 2008 - the same as the previous year. The rail company also saw a 1.1pc improvement on its peak services.

National Express East Anglia was also consistent with customer satisfaction after the new figures showed that it had 36 complaints in 100,000 passenger journeys between October and December - the same as 2007.

It comes after the Office of Rail Regulation revealed that complaints across the country had risen by 7.2pc last autumn, with the most common concerns relating to late trains, fare prices and refunds, and the quality of carriages.

First Capital Connect, which runs services between King's Lynn and London King's Cross, saw 89.5pc of trains arriving on time last autumn - a 1.3pc rise. It also received a reduction in complaints from 38 per 100,000 passenger journeys to 34 compared to the same period in 2007.

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However, the news was not so good for East Midlands Trains, which operates between Norwich and Ely and on to the north. Punctuality was down 0.6pc to 85.6pc and complaints more than doubled from 48 per 100,000 passenger journeys to 116.

A National Express East Anglia spokeswoman said the company was pleased with latest figures and added that customer complaints were down year on year. She added that performance was set to improve further with a �1bn Network Rail investment in the Anglia region over the next five years.

'We will continue to focus all our efforts in working with our partners, including Network Rail in delivering further improvement.'

'We are pleased that the number of customer complaints shows a reducing trend reflecting the annual improvement in train service punctuality. We always welcome customer comments and feedback as part of a positive dialogue with our customers in meeting their expectations and in identifying further improvements to our service,' said the spokeswoman.

A First Capital Connect spokeswoman added: 'We are really pleased with the punctuality improvements. We're not complacent and are working hard to improve our performance even further. We are also very pleased about the substantial reduction in customer complaints for the quarter. Our ultimate wish would be to get to a position where no customer would have cause to complain about any of our services'.

Virgin West Coast passengers suffered from the poorest punctuality figures last autumn, with 82.2pc of trains on time. The best-performer in autumn 2008 was the London to Tilbury and Southend train company c2c, which ran 95.1pc of trains on time.