CHICAGO (CBS) — Some off the credit goes to warm weather and a lack for construction, some to a longer month, but Metra reported Friday that on-time performance last month was one of its best months ever.

On-time performance on Metra’s 11 commuter rail lines averaged 97.4 percent last month, the first time on-time performance has been that good in three years.

Deputy Executive Director George Hardwidge said that the biggest turnaround was on the Heritage Corridor, which saw an increase in on-time performance from 75.4 percent in December to 99.2 percent last month.

Hardwidge said owner Canadian National has completed extensive track work, but said the on-time improvement also is the product of a series of meetings between Metra and CN officials to reduce delays because of freight train interference.

Metra operates six trains in each direction weekdays on the Heritage Corridor.  Traditionally, it has been Metra’s worst performer.

Ridership was up sharply in February  – a preliminary 6 percent – but Hardwidge said there were two more weekdays last month than in February 2011 and there was no repeat of the 2011 blizzard, which all but shut down service for a day last year.  Nonetheless, Metra recorded an increase the same month it imposed the largest fare hike in its history, averaging 25.1 percent.