asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, in future train operating franchises, inter-city train operating companies will be prevented from adding substantial amounts of recovery time between the last intermediate station and the final destination in order that trains which have been consistently late at intermediate stops may arrive at the final station on time, or within the permitted number of minutes late to qualify as on time, thus avoiding penalties for lateness.[HL6602]
Responsibility for producing the national rail timetable lies with Network Rail. New passenger franchises which are let by the department include provisions for maximum journey times. Timetable changes should ensure the best balance between what time is actually required for sections of a journey, and the need to offer the shortest reliable end-to-end journey times.