AN investigation has been launched into the reasons behind deteriorating train performance in Somerset and Devon.

The regulator Office of Rail and Road (ORR) wants to know why the service in the Wales and West region is getting worse while the wider network across Great Britain has seen performance stabilising.

While ORR’s investigation will focus on Network Rail, the regulator recognises that delivery of reliable, punctual trains requires cross-industry collaboration.

So ORR will convene a round table of parties who directly contribute to delivering train performance in the region.

Bringing together Network Rail, train operating companies, freight operators, and other bodies, ORR will work to ensure a joined up approach to identifying the measures required to improve performance for passengers and freight in the Wales and Western region.

ORR’s investigation will assess whether Network Rail is complying with its licence obligations in the region and whether it is doing everything reasonably practicable to deliver train service performance.

The regulator will review the effectiveness of the region’s performance improvement plan, whether assets are being managed appropriately and the impact of changes to the rail network on train performance.

Based on its investigation, ORR will determine whether or not Network Rail could be doing more and may decide on appropriate measures, which could include enforcement action.

Feras Alshaker, OTT director of performance and planning, said: “While Network Rail has begun making good progress in stabilising performance elsewhere on the network, performance in the Wales and Western region has continued to deteriorate, meaning poor reliability and punctuality for passengers and freight.

“Our investigation will take a detailed look at the root causes of the region’s performance issues and will consider wider contributing factors.

"As part of our work we will convene a round table with key players in the region to support Network Rail in taking pragmatic and effective action to improve performance for all the region’s rail users.”

Michelle Handworth, Wales and Western managing director, said: "We welcome this cross-industry review which recognises the importance of Network Rail and the train operating companies working effectively together to deliver a reliable railway for the thousands of passengers and freight customers who depend on it every day.

"We know that when we work efficiently and effectively with train and freight operating companies it leads to more reliable services.

"However, we recognise there is much more work to be done across our region, and our biggest challenge is the critical Thames Valley, which is one of the busiest corridors in the country.

"We will, of course, co-operate fully with the ORR as it undertakes its review and look forward to receiving its recommendations."