I read with interest and not a little dismay, your cheap shot at East Coast in the recent article on Thursday May 16, not least the last paragraph relating to their punctuality.
As Mark Twain said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. East Coast are at the mercy of other operators and Network Rail, who look after the infrastructure of the railways, i.e track and station maintenance etc. Peterborough Station on the East Coast Main Line is undergoing major rebuilding, and delays occur due to this. Also recently, overhead line equipment was damaged on the way to London. This had to be repaired and, again, impacted on East Coast’s punctuality figures and timings.
Network Rail were responsible for repairs. I do not criticise Network Rail for their work, as, like Peterborough, Reading Station is undergoing a complete rebuild to the tune of £900 million. They closed the station for a weekend recently to undertake massive engineering works. On the Monday morning the works overran by 45 minutes!
Would you criticise Trans Pennine Express and Northern Rail for the need for rail replacement bus services, caused by the Stainforth spoil heap incident?
I regularly travel on East Coast, from short journeys to Doncaster and York, from Leeds, and to London King’s Cross. At all times the trains have been punctual, the staff helpful, the trains clean, and “the product” if that’s what we wish to call it, excellent. As you stated, GNER and National Express walked away from their franchises, unable to make a profit. It is testament to the hard work of the staff, from top to bottom, that they can make money, even though owned by Directly Operated Railways, viz, the Government. These monies are then paid back to the Treasury, so the taxpayer does receive something from the company. By all means report on the privatisation plans, but please don’t have a go at East Coast for matters that are, a lot of the time, beyond their control.
Mark Hall, Littlemoor Road, Pudsey, Leeds