Network Rail: Officially late and crap

train Network Rail has been fined more than £50 million!

The train's regulator has chalked up the astronomical penalty of £53.1m for causing trains to run late, and now the Treasury plan to plough the money back into the railways to provide faster WiFi on commuter trains.

Because obviously, if your train is running late, you can at least piss about on the internet while you lose your mind.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has slapped a £53.1m fine on the track operator, the biggest it has yet levied for missing targets.

Almost one in six long-distance trains ran last year, nearly twice as many as permitted by the 92% punctuality target. More than one in 10 commuter trains in London and the south-east ran late, where the target was 93% running on time.

The ORR did praise Network Rail for much of its work in its review of how it spent the last five years' budget, including its upgrade of the track and work to close unsafe level crossings, the regulator said the company "fell significantly short" in ensuring long-distance trains' punctuality.

For its part, Network Rail has also pledged to spend an additional £25m to improve the resilience of the south-east commuter network.

The government said some of the fine would go towards improving WiFi, with track side equipment being put in place by Network Rail over the next three to four years to provide a much faster service, which should cost the company around £90m.


  • KJD
    Given the fact that this year, Network Rail is to become an official government body - this accounting blip of transferring money from itself to itself seems like a toothless nod to PR. Whilst an overhaul of our track and stock is undoubtedly exponentially more costly than adding the ability to play with our phones whilst travelling, it's what's needed to bring our public transport into the 20th century (bullet trains were run first in Japan in 1964 - I'm not expecting our public transport to be modern, half a century old technology is fine for me).
  • Quietus
    "Almost one in six long-distance trains ran last year". I make that about 17%, which is nowhere near the 92% mark. =)
  • Samantha
    So the fine from the train companies is going to be spent (presumably by the train companies) to improve a service that the train companies charge an extortionate premium fee for using?
  • Mr M.
    I think most people would opt for a better service rather than wi-fi...
  • Grendel
    So the fine imposed will take money which could be used to improve safety to install wi-fi? Great thinking from the ORR there!
  • People P.
    Fines on businesses as a corrective tool (ie. to improve performance or reduce bad behaviour) only work in a competitive environment. This is a monopoly, so the captive consumer pays.

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