Rail delays send complaints soaring

RAIL operator One has blamed a massive rise in complaints and a dip in punctuality figures on a series of overhead line problems. Passenger complaints soared by 157% in the second quarter of 2006-07, from 117 per 100,000 passenger journeys during the same July to September period the previous year to 301 this year.

RAIL operator One has blamed a massive rise in complaints and a dip in punctuality figures on a series of overhead line problems.

Passenger complaints soared by 157% in the second quarter of 2006-07, from 117 per 100,000 passenger journeys during the same July to September period the previous year to 301 this year.

During the same months, 81.1% of its long-distance InterCity trains arrived on time compared to 81.8% in the same period last year.

On One's non-InterCity services, peak time punctuality fell from 87.7% arriving on time in July to September of 2005 to 85.2% during the same months of 2006. However, the all-day figure for non-InterCity trains was down just 0.1%, at 87.8% against 87.9%.


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One said yesterday that the figures were down to three incidents in close succession in August and September where overhead lines were brought down along the London to Norwich line, bringing inevitable delays. There was also a knock-on effect for other services and for those the following day.

“It's extremely rare we have these incidences but unfortunately we had three in one hit,” said One spokesman Nick Jarrold. “Those performance figures can be put down solely to those incidents.”

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He pointed out that the overhead lines and other infrastructure was managed by Network Rail and was therefore beyond the train operator's control.

“If those had not occurred, we would more than likely have seen a drop in complaints and a rise in performance punctuality figures,” he said. “Unfortunately they did and as you can see they had a major effect.”

The complaints they were getting were about claiming compensation because of delays. There were also complaints about the information the company was relaying when the problems occurred. As a result, they had looked at ensuring customers were getting enough information, he added.

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