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Watchdog rails against East Coast

A RAIL passenger watchdog has called for improvements in services between London and Edinburgh after a weekend of disruption which saw dozens of trains cancelled.

Passenger Focus said the industry needed to “work harder” to ensure more trains ran on time on the East Coast Main Line, one of two arterial routes connecting Scotland to London, after a recent run of poor performance.

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Only 83% of passenger services operated by East Coast were officially on time over the last year, according to punctuality figures published by Network Rail, which show it had the worst performance of any UK train company.

Ashwin Kumar, rail director for Passenger Focus, said the latest disruption should act as a catalyst to improve performance on the route, which connects London to Edinburgh, with through services operating to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

He said: “Passengers are too often catching late-running East Coast trains and this is disappointing. More work must happen to improve East Coast’s punctuality record.”

Passengers were faced with scores of cancellations and delays after overhead equipment was damaged in two separate incidents over the weekend.

Services were affected for much of Sunday, after power lines in Copmanthorpe, south of York, were damaged. Diesel trains carried passengers through the affected area but many travellers faced hour-long delays.

The problems followed hours of chaos on the line on Saturday, when 200 metres of power lines were damaged near Grantham, Lincolnshire, leading to disruption on 70 scheduled services. Journeys in both directions between Grantham and Peterborough were cancelled. East Coast was not available for comment.

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