More for less

01 November 2013

Nine in every ten trains must run on time until 2019 under new punctuality rules imposed by the Office for Rail Regulation. If that target is missed, by delays and cancellations, then Network Rail, which has been told to cut costs by 20%, will be slapped with punitive fines.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, said: 'While we welcome anything that improves the reliability, punctuality, and efficiency of the rail network in this country, I do wonder whether it is realistic in the light of the budgets cuts to which Network Rail has, simultaneously, been subject.

'The trick is to be realistic, as well as being ambitious. There is no point in the ORR setting up Network Rail to fail. That, in the long run, won't help anyone.'

Network Rail's chief executive, Sir David Higgins, said: 'This is a critical time for the railway. A challenge to continue responding to rising passenger demand and to expand the network. We need to juggle the challenges of improving performance, reducing costs and delivering huge investment projects with substantial social and economic benefits to Britain.'

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