THE company that operates the main rail franchise through Buckinghamshire is the most punctual in England, according to new figures.

Research carried out by Network Rail showed 84.7 per cent of all Chiltern Railways services arrived within a minute of their scheduled times – well above the national average of 69.2 per cent.

The only franchise to have a more reliable service was Arriva Trains Wales with an 86.1 per cent punctuality rating for the 366 days leading up to December 8. Bottom of the pile was Crosscountry, which had just 48.8 per cent of its services arrive on time or within a minute of the scheduled arrival.

Chiltern Railways recently announced record growth for journeys from Birmingham to London via Buckinghamshire – but a timetable change has been met with criticism from commuters in Princes Risborough and Saunderton who say alterations have left bigger gaps and fewer peak time services.

Company director Thomas Ableman said: “Passengers always tell us that punctuality is their top priority. The Chiltern team put a huge amount of effort into ensuring that trains run precisely to time, and these results come as no surprise to us.

“In part it is because passengers know they can rely on Chiltern trains that so many people are switching to Chiltern every day.”