Best and worst UK train companies Best train companies overall
Grand Central and First Hull Trains top our satisfaction survey
Two small companies running just a handful of long-distance services a day triumphed in the Which? train satisfaction survey for 2015.
Grand Central runs just four trains a day each way between London and Bradford, and five between London and Sunderland. But it tops our satisfaction table with a customer score of 76%, the highest we've seen in four years of running the survey.
First Hull Trains, which operates seven daily services between London and Hull, is second with 69%.
Both operators get great reports from passengers who like the cleanliness of the trains and the ease of getting a seat. Grand Central was also praised for friendly staff, and one First Hull Trains customer said they had never had anything to complain about in years of using the service.
Worst train companies
At the other extreme was Thameslink & Great Northern, operated by Govia Thameslink Railway, which took over the service from First Capital Connect in September 2014. For the purposes of this year’s survey, we combined responses about both companies to produce one customer score; an uninspiring 43%.
Passengers say almost everything about the service is poor, including value for money, cleanliness and punctuality. The age of the trains is also a common gripe.
One passenger told us: ‘The trains are out of date and tatty, there aren’t enough carriages and the fares don’t reflect the level of service.’
The bottom six slots in the survey are all filled by operators that carry a higher proportion of harder-to-please commuters and cover congested parts of the network around London. None score above 50% and all are rated poor value.
|Best and worst train companies - overall|
|Train company||Availability of seating||Cleanliness of toilets||Condition of the train||Punctuality||Reliability||Value for money||Customer score|
|Grand Central (112)||76%|
|First Hull Trains (118)||69%|
|East Coast (538)b||62%|
|Virgin Trains (392)||60%|
|Chiltern Railways (146)||57%|
|London Overground (146)||56%|
|London Midland (297)||55%|
|East Midlands Trains(295)||53%|
|First TransPennine Express (340)||53%|
|Arriva Trains Wales (237)||51%|
|Northern Rail (490)||49%|
|South West Trains (528)||48%|
|First Great Western (587)||47%|
|Abellio Greater Anglia (389)||46%|
|Thameslink & Great Northern/First Capital Connect|
In our November 2014 survey of the general public we received 7,309 responses from commuter and leisure travellers about the journeys they had taken in the previous 12 months. Each train company is rated in categories we know mean a lot to our customers, and given an overall customer score.
Trains in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland’s Translink is not included in our table as it is publicly owned and is regulated differently, so its customer score isn’t directly comparable with other companies. It scores 69%, based on 196 responses.