A succession of tumultuous storms tested the rail industry’s resilience during a very difficult period 10.
Punctuality on the railways reached 83.7% according to monthly performance data released today by Network Rail. The data for Britain’s train services covers the period from 8 December 2013 - 4 January 2014. This compares to 88.3% for the same period last year. The moving annual average is now at 90.1%.
During this period, the railway dealt with multiple and sustained extreme weather conditions. Storm-force winds brought down almost 400 trees onto the railway while torrential rain caused almost 130 floods and 29 landslips, some blocking major routes. Thousands of railway staff responded with dedication and professionalism to repair the damage caused.
Despite these considerable challenges, over the same period Network Rail was able to successfully deliver a £110m investment programme during Chritmas and the New Year – the largest ever undertaken over a two-week period. Some 6,000 people worked in often challenging conditions to deliver over 300 projects aimed at improving and expanding the network for the benefit of its millions of daily users.
As ever, safety was the industry’s top priority in the face of widespread and unpredictable damage to the infrastructure. On a number of occasions, Network Rail and train operators took the decision to introduce blanket speed restrictions to reduce the risk caused by fallen trees and in some instances delayed the start-up of services so routes could be checked by empty trains in daylight for obstructions and debris. These precautions, and those used during the investment programme, meant the railway experienced no serious injury to passenger, employee or contractor.