Train services in the UK has seen a ‘remarkable’ improvement over the last financial year, according to the company responsible for the maintenance of the country’s rail infrastructure.
Network Rail announced that record levels of investment had led to an increase in the number of trains arriving at their scheduled destinations on time. An average 89.9 per cent of trains had arrived on time during the year 2007-8. At the end of April, that level rose to above 90 per cent. As a result, the company made a pre-tax profit of £1.6billion, of which staff would each share a £55million bonus. Is it the same company that was fined £14million after engineering works overran over last Christmas, causing chaos for commuters when they went back to work after the holidays?
There are many rail users across the country who don’t share Network Rail’s rose-tinted view of the system. Many are still having to travel around in dirty, old or poorly maintained carriages. Delays are still routine, and fares have continually been raised every year, in line with government policy, which wants to reduce rail subsidies. Also, major improvement projects have been shelved, so that the priority is to prevent the existing creaking system from falling apart.
When you have Network Rail, the train companies and the government all managing the system, most commuters don’t know who is responsible for what… and this causes confusion. Despite some changes, there are still major problems which will need more than financial resources to resolve.