Network Rail’s Western route has experienced the best start to a year in terms of train performance since 2012, with over 90% of services running on time following unprecedented investment on new railway infrastructure and new trains.
The Western route, which runs from Paddington to Penzance and as far north as Worcester, has thousands of services running every day, moving millions of passengers.
So far in 2019 delays are at their lowest for seven years and Great Western Railway (GWR) has seen its highest ever number of services running on time, with over 108,000 trains arriving on time with an additional 10,000 services running compared with 2012.
Network Rail say that whilst performance is good they are committed to working to improving it further.
Tim Ball, chief operating officer on Network Rail’s Western route, said: “Passengers are beginning to experience the benefits of the new infrastructure and improvements to the network that we have been working on for a number of years as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan – the biggest modernisation on the Great Western railway since it was built by Brunel more than 175 years ago.
“Last year we carried out the largest ever signalling upgrade in and around Bristol Temple Meads, which has improved the reliability of the infrastructure in the area. Electrification from London Paddington to Swindon, Bristol Parkway and to Newbury has also improved reliability and facilitated the introduction of GWR’s electric Intercity Express Trains (IETs).
“The new IETs are able to seat more passengers and are able to accelerate faster, which provides greater opportunity for the train service to recover from any unexpected incidents, helping to reduce delays.
“While this is the best start to a year for some time, we recognise that it’s only an improvement, and we have a lot more to do. We will continue to work with our train operating partners, such as GWR and CrossCountry Trains, to assess how we improve performance.”
Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said: “It’s great to see electrification reach Swindon, bringing brand new trains with more seats. Residents are now seeing the benefits of this work with more trains arriving on time at their destinations. I will keep working with GWR and Network Rail so that performance improves further.”