Train operator Merseyrail has been confirmed as the UK’s most punctual rail service for the second year running.

Merseyside’s rail network recorded its best year for punctuality with 96.4% of its trains running on time in 2019.

Operations director Zoe Hands, said she was “thrilled” with the results but also thanked Network Rail “who have been the bedrock of our performance”.

Merseyrail carries 110,000 passengers per weekday on more than 600 trains.

Ms Hands said: “These punctuality results cement the fact that Merseyrail is consistently one of the best performing rail operators in the country and I’m so glad we can put our region on the map when it comes to the best train services in Britain.”

Councillor Liam Robinson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Portfolio Holder, said: “At a time when some rail services in other areas of the country and region are so poor, it’s great to see that the Merseyrail network is performing well.”

‘Hard work’

Phil James, Regional Director for Network Rail’s North West route, said: “There is a lot of hard work taking place across the North West, with our train and freight operating partners, to identify areas of improvement.”

All train operating companies are obliged to publish their Public Performance Measure (PPM) which is the official measure of punctuality.

The PPM considers a train to be on time if it arrives at its destination within five or 10 minutes after schedule, for short and long-distance journeys respectively.

A spokesman for regulator the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) said Merseyrail was “the most punctual service in terms of PPM in Great Britain in 2019.”

He added: “It’s also true to say it was most punctual on the same basis last year (2018).”