Virgin Trains worst Christmas performer for punctuality

Virgin Trains blamed a series of setbacks in December and January for putting in the UK's worst performance on punctuality over Christmas.

Network Rail said the company only operated 80.6% of its trains on time.

Services were hit by overhead line damage in Northamptonshire, extremely high winds and a death in Bedfordshire and track problems in Buckinghamshire.

Overall, UK train companies ran 88.7% of trains on time compared with 81.1% for the same period last year.

Last Christmas Virgin Trains ran 65.1% of trains on time and Network Rail said Virgin's performance was hampered by seven days of less than 80% punctuality.

The worst impacts were caused by overhead line damage at Stowe Hill in Northamptonshire on 13 December, extremely high winds across the route and a death at Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire on 5 January, plus a track circuit failure at Kings Langley in Buckinghamshire on 30 December.

The best performing company was London Overground, which ran 97% of trains on time over the festive period, compared to 93.2% last year.

Every company showed an improvement compared to the same period last year, Network Rail said.

Companies which failed to meet the national average for punctuality were Stagecoach South West Trains, Southern, National Express East Anglia, London Midland, First Scotrail First Capital Connect, East Coast and Crosscountry.

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