In the third and final part of its mid-year report on Network Rail, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) praises the company for making a positive contribution to keeping the railway open for business and running punctually, despite the challenges of the pandemic. However, ORR notes the need for continued attention to improvements to train service performance in the North West.
In the first half of 2020-21, Network Rail and the industry delivered high levels of train performance that reversed a long-term downward trend over the last few years. The percentage of trains arriving on-time at stations was 75% in November 2020, compared to 65% before the pandemic.
ORR notes reduced service levels and passenger numbers have been a factor in improved punctuality, but it is evident that Network Rail has focused on strengthening its performance management capability, including taking steps to learn from the pandemic and deliver improvement plans.