Two small train companies have won the top spots in the new Which? train satisfaction survey.
Grand Central and First Hull Trains, which both operate a handful of services between London and northern England, nab first and second place, with scores of 76% and 69%, respectively.
But seven train companies in England and Scotland fail to score more than 50%. Thameslink & Great Northern (known as First Capital Connect until September 2014) came last, scoring an uninspiring 43%. The service was rated poor for everything other than the frequency of the service. Abellio Greater Anglia, First Great Western, Northern Rail, ScotRail, Southeastern, Southern and South West Trains all score less than 50%.
The survey also showed that train companies are not doing enough to let passengers know about their compensation rights when they’re delayed.
Find out more: See full results of the Which? Train satisfaction survey.
Small is beautiful
Grand Central runs just four trains a day each way between London and Bradford, and five between London and Sunderland. But its score of 76% was the highest we’ve seen in four years of running the survey. Grand Central passengers like its punctuality, reliability and value for money as well as the cleanliness of the trains.
Six of the seven companies passengers are least satisfied with are all poor when it comes to value for money.
Delays, complaints and compensation
The survey also reveals that train companies aren’t doing enough to let their passengers know about their rights to compensation when they’re delayed.
A quarter of all passengers were delayed when they last travelled by train, and one in 20 were delayed long enough to claim compensation from the train company. But three quarters of those delayed for more than an hour on their last journey, who would have qualified for a full refund from the train company, were not told that they could claim compensation.
Find out more: See which train companies are best and worst for delays
Southern was involved in more delays than the rest in our survey, but Southern passengers told us it’s doing the least to let them know about compensation for delays. Four in 10 Southern passengers were delayed the last time they travelled, and of these, 8% were delayed long enough to claim some money back.
But only two in 10 of those delayed long enough to claim were informed about their compensation rights. In contrast, four in 10 of London Overground passengers delayed long enough to claim compensation on their last journey were told their rights. And around a third of South West Trains customers entitled to claim said they were told of their rights.
The Which survey of more than 7,300 regular train passengers across all of the major train operating companies, compiled scores based on passengers’ overall satisfaction with a company and whether they would be likely to recommend it.
- Read our full survey results to find out more about the best and worst trains companies
- Find out about the best and worst long distance train companies
- Discover which commuter train companies are best and worst