FLOODS, staff shortages and constant morning rush-hour problems combined to drag down rail punctuality last month.

The two main London to Scotland companies - East Coast and Virgin West Coast - ran fewer than four in five trains on time in the period December 9 2012 to January 5 2013, Network Rail (NR) said.

London Midland, where passengers have experienced repeated staff shortages, only reached a 77.7 per cent trains-on-time figure for the period.

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But some companies ran almost all of their services on time, with London to Tilbury and Southend company c2c achieving a 98.0 per cent figure.

Overall, a total of 88.2 per cent of trains ran on time in the four-week period compared with 88.8 per cent in the same period over the new year in 2011/12.

Virgin's figure was 75.8 per cent and East Coast only reached 77.2 per cent

Network Rail said: ''Severe weather with multiple flooding, landslide and embankment slip events caused severe disruption over a number of days to many train operators and particularly impacted our long-distance customers.''

Today's (Friday, January 11) figures, which come only a few days after passengers saw their season tickets rise by an average 4.2 per cent, do not include cancellations and delays caused by planned engineering work.