Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, highlighted rail performance figures published on Monday (18th March) revealing a serious deterioration in local rail services since the effective renationalisation of Railtrack last year.

    Peter Lilley said:

    “Since Stephen Byers renationalised Railtrack last October delays have worsened on local rail routes. In the last three months of 2001, 40 out of every 100 Thameslink trains and 35 out of every 100 West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN) trains arrived more than 5 minutes late. That was a marked deterioration from the previous quarter – before Railtrack was taken over ? when about 25 trains in 100 were running late on both lines.

    “In peak times, punctuality deteriorated even further. Only half of all WAGN peak-time services arrived less than five minutes late between October and December last year.

    “Since the disruption caused by the Hatfield crash in September 2000, the punctuality of rail services between London and Hitchin and Harpenden had recovered. Although the problems of overcrowding continued, three out of four trains serving Hitchin and Harpenden ran on time last summer. Progress was being made, albeit slowly. The Transport Secretary?s ill-timed decision effectively to renationalise Railtrack has plunged the network back into worse delays and made the prospect of future private sector investment less certain.

    “Local commuters are suffering because of the doctrinaire decision of an incompetent Minister.