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Railtrack faces huge fines for train delays.

RAILTRACK was today ordered to reduce train delays or face a fine of up to pounds 40 million.

The get-tough message to the train infrastructure company came from Rail Regulator Tom Winsor.

Railtrack will now have to reduce by 12.7 per cent, in terms of minutes, the delays it causes to passenger trains.

The company will have until the end of March 2000 to meet the target. If not, Mr Winsor will impose a pounds 4 million penalty for each percentage point by which Railtrack falls short.

This could result in fines of:

More than pounds 40 million if Railtrack only achieves the same rate of delay reduction as last year, when it achieved a 2 per cent reduction against a target of 7.5 per cent.

About pounds 20 million if Railtrack achieves this year's target of 7.5 per cent but fails to catch up on last year's shortfall.

About pounds 10 million if Railtrack achieves this year's 7.5 per cent target and gets half way to making up last year's shortfall.

Mr Winsor said: ''Today's action is the first step in the enforcement process. Its objective is to secure compliance with Railtrack's network licence obligation.

''Passengers have been waiting far too long for better performance from the railways. They have heard numerous statements of good intentions, and been given promises of jam tomorrow.

''The time has come to take action to make the privatised railways treat the travelling public with the same respect as they treat their shareholders.''

Mr Winsor stressed he was only requiring Railtrack to meet its own obligations and he was not imposing any new obligations.

Mr Winsor's action follows damning figures yesterday from passenger watchdog body the Central Rail Users Consultative Committee that train delays and cancellations were getting worse and passenger complaints had reached an all-time high.
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Author:Woodman, Peter
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 19, 1999
Words:307
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