Floods cause fall in rail line punctuality
Floods which washed across the Westcountry last month have been blamed for reducing the punctuality of rail services.
Figures just released by Network Rail show the appalling weather, staff shortages and rush-hour problems combined to make services across the country run later than scheduled.
Some of the worst of the flooding in December was in the Westcountry, where services were severely disrupted when the track at Cowley Bridge, near Exeter, was seriously undermined.
Despite that, First Great Western managed to run 84% of trains on time – only slightly down from 89.5% cent achieved in the same period the previous year.
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The performance was better than many areas not as seriously affected by flooding, such as London Midland, where passengers have experienced repeated staff shortages, and only 77.7% of trains ran on time.
An FGW spokesman admitted the company's performance was not as good as it would have liked.
"The floods had a serious impact on our ability to deliver services for customers," he said.
"Punctuality was below what we would wish for. This was due to the poor weather conditions that we faced and where Network Rail advised us of the closure of main lines and branch lines."