Network Rail will today be fined £2 million by the rail regulator for poorly managed timetabling that led to chronic delays and disruption for thousands of people at London Bridge station.
The fine also relates to late trains on the Thameslink and Southern franchises, as well as delays in Scotland in 2014.
The regulator – the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) – ruled that Network Rail had breached its licence in respect of passenger services on Southern and Govia Thameslink (GTR) in 2014-2015.
Southern and GTR together represented a third of punctuality delays and nearly half of cancelled and significantly delayed services in England and Wales.
Services were below expectations and missed punctuality targets, the regulator said. If your train is delayed, find out how you can claim compensation for train delays.
Failed performance targets
The ORR investigation looked into why Network Rail had failed to deliver on its performance targets.
While there were no systemic weaknesses found in Network Rail’s performance delivery, ORR’s investigation took into consideration the repeated past errors by Network Rail.
These errors were to do with timetabling, lack of liaison with operators and failing to adequately plan ahead for passengers.
London Bridge badly affected
The ORR found that Network Rail significantly underestimated the impact of the Thameslink programme at London Bridge. This was further exacerbated by a timetable that was not robust.
This led to severe disruption, overcrowding and thousands of frustrated passengers at London Bridge station earlier this year.
There were also numerous errors in Scotland in the December 2014 timetable caused by issues including a lack of quality assurance and detailed planning.
ORR chief executive Richard Price said: ‘The scale of the delays suffered by passengers was central to our decision to fine.
‘The penalty sends a clear message to the Network Rail Board; Network Rail must urgently rectify these errors and deliver the reliability of services that passengers have paid for.’