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Train delays improvement too slow, say Lib Dems

September 8, 2003 12:00 AM

Figures obtained by local Liberal Democrats show that more than 17% of the trains operated by WAGN, the company responsible for most of the trains from Cambridge, were more than 5 minutes late this summer.

That is an improvement on last year, when 22% were late, but even if that improvement continues, it will 2007 before trains are as punctual as they were when Labour came to power in 1997.

A survey of Train Operating Companies by the Liberal Democrats, published ahead of official Government figures expected this week, reveals a summer of chaos nationally, with 1 in 5 trains delayed and nearly one third of the privatised rail companies suffering more delays than in 2001.

Cllr David Howarth, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Cambridge, said:

"The improvement on last year is welcome, but the improvement is far too slow. The Government is struggling to reach the unambitious standard set by the Conservatives.

"With autumn upon us - traditionally the worst season for British rail passengers - worse is yet to come."

The Liberal Democrats would reduce the number of Train Operating Companies and encourage further integration of the network, so that Train Operating Companies wanting to manage their section of track can do so.

The Liberal Democrats are also committed to investing in local rail schemes, and would restore funding to schemes cut by Labour such as the Rail Passenger Partnerships.