Partnership proves timely for One

REGIONAL train operator One recorded its best punctuality performance for nine months during March, according to figures out yesterday.

REGIONAL train operator One recorded its best punctuality performance for nine months during March, according to figures out yesterday.

In the four weeks to March 31 - the first month under a new joint performance plan involving One and track owner Network Rail - 90.1% of One services arrived on time, the highest figure since June last year.

Mainline services on the London-Norwich route, via Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich and including through trains to Braintree, Clacton and Harwich, achieved 88.4% punctuality during the month.

Rural services in East Anglia, including the routes from Ipswich to Cambridge, Peterborough, Lowestoft and Felixstowe and those from Norwich to Cambridge, Sheringham, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth did better still, at 93.0%

Top performer, however, at 93.2%, was the West Anglia route, from London to Cambridge, Harlow and Hertford, with the Stansted Express service between London and Stansted Airport achieving 89.2%.

Metro services, serving local stations between London and Shenfield/Southend, recorded a figure of 86.9%.

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Most of One's services are deemed to be “on time” if they arrive within five minutes of the published arrival time, although trains on the mainline route to Norwich are classed as “long distance” and are allowed 10 minutes' leeway.

The joint performance plan launched by One in partnership with Network Rail aims to improve long-term punctuality to 88% and then 90% over the coming year, building on the improvement already seen from a rolling annual average of 84.96% in April 2004, when the One franchise was formed, to 87.47% in December 2006.

Under the plan, One and Network Rail have each targeted 10 points of action to address the biggest causes of delay and disruption, including upgrades and extra resources to improve the reliability of trains, track, signalling and overhead power lines.

Early actions such as modification programmes for Class 315 and 317 trains and closing doors 30 seconds before departure at London Liverpool Street station are already in place.

Andrew Chivers, managing director of One, said yesterday: “I'm pleased that we've achieved a good start to our plans to further improve punctuality and reliability across the One network.

“The improved punctuality scores reflect the efforts of our employees and those in Network Rail who have been working hard to provide customers with the best possible service.

“We recognise there's more to do and that it is the consistent delivery of good performance which our customers are seeking, but the last month's results indicate we're making progress and tackling the right issues to raise performance standards.”