DELAYS on Portsmouth’s abysmal railway lines have fallen to a shocking new low, a damning report has revealed.
An investigation by railway expert Sir Michael Holden has shown disruptions on routes to and from the city have spiralled to their worst level in seven years.
Portsmouth’s problems are so severe its network has been branded the worst in the region.
Figures from Sir Michael’s analysis, seen exclusively by The News, have shown almost a quarter of all trains fail to arrive at their destination within five minutes of their scheduled time.
And more than half of all services terminating from Portsmouth lines (53 per cent) were late.
The news has sparked an outcry from politicians and campaigners who were last night demanding action from network operator South Western Railway (SWR).
Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, said railway bosses were failing thousands of commuters in the city.
Mr Morgan, who is on the all party parliamentary group scrutinising Wessex Rail, said: ‘As a commuter myself, I’m as angry as anyone about the shambolic state of Portsmouth’s rail services. Passengers are paying through the nose and getting the region’s worst delays in return.’
Sir Michael’s review found growing passenger numbers, poor management of train crew and an ageing infrastructure had contributed to a severe decline in network performance since 2011.
Jeremy Varns, of South Western Railway Watch, called on the government for action, and said: ‘South Western Railway has already introduced measures to reverse the years of cost-cutting by their predecessor, but much more needs to be done.
‘Train maintenance and reliability is an on-going concern, and Network Rail's performance is simply not good enough.’
Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said: ‘Train travel is still expensive and passengers deserve a much better service.’
Andy Mellors, SWR’s managing director, said the firm was investing £5m to improve performance with the first of a new £895m fleet of suburban trains due to hit the tracks later this year.
‘Eight years of decline will not be reversed overnight but, working together with Network Rail, we are determined to arrest that decline and put performance back on track to the levels our passengers expect, and we want to deliver,’ he said.