By Claire West

Network Rail has been fined £2m by the rail regulator over train delays and cancellations in 2014-15.

Network Rail's performance on Southern, on Govia Thameslink (GTR) and in Scotland was "below expectations and missed punctuality targets", the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said.

Phil Hufton, managing director of network operations at Network Rail, said: “At the start of this year we had a number of problems that caused passengers disruption and frustration and we apologise for this. Since then we have proactively invested over £11m to improve performance for Southern and Thameslink passengers.

"This investment, which has seen the introduction of a revised timetable, improved equipment, the deployment of rapid-response maintenance teams at London Bridge as well as new information screens and better passenger information, is paying dividends and passenger service reliability has now improved by almost 12% since January.

“While the nuts and bolts of our infrastructure are the most reliable they’ve even been, severe congestion caused by record numbers of trains and passengers makes delivering a consistently reliable service a daily challenge for ourselves and the train operators. At London Bridge we are undertaking the biggest and most complex station and track redevelopment ever attempted on Britain’s railways — while simultaneously continuing to keep services running."

“As we are now a public sector organisation, the fine must come from within our existing budget and will mean a reallocation of existing resources to pay it.”