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Best and worst UK train companies

Best and worst train companies in the UK

By Vicki Crowe

Article 1 of 2

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Find out how your train company compares with others in the UK. Our survey reveals passengers' ratings for punctuality, reliability, value for money and more. Each company is then given an overall customer score so you can discover the UK's best and worst train companies.

 

Grand Central is Britain's best-rated train company in 2018, according to the latest Which? survey of almost 14,000 train passengers. 

Grand Central tops the British train companies with the most positive reviews from its customers. The company, which runs trains between London and the north east, earned a full five stars for punctuality and the condition of its carriages. Translink NI Railways, which runs all trains in Northern Ireland, topped the leisure table and came second in the commuter table. 

Worst-rated Southern Railway, which operates between London and the south coast of England, has been disrupted since 2016 due to strike action. Other commuter services, such as Southeastern and Thameslink & Great Northern, have also come in at the bottom end of the table. 

The table below shows the scores from leisure travellers; the table beneath shows those from commuters. 

Find out more:

 

UK train companies rated - leisure rail services
Train company Reported punctuality Reliability Seat availability Standing space Frequency Carriages Toilets Value for money Customer score
Translink NI Railways (240) 70%
Grand Central (167) 69%
Heathrow Express (209) 66%
Merseyrail (264) - 65%
Chiltern Railways (369) 64%
Heathrow Connect (126) 64%
Hull Trains (164) 64%
Virgin Trains East Coast (488) 63%
Virgin Trains West Coast (650) 60%
C2C (231) 60%
Stansted Express (175) 59%
London Overground (435) - 59%
Scotrail (361) 59%
East Midlands Trains (455) 57%
Gatwick Express (216) 56%
Great Western Railway (781) 56%
Island Line Trains (70) 55%
Abellio Greater Anglia (548) 55%
TFL Rail (222) - 55%
TransPennine Express (387) 55%
Arriva Trains Wales (387) 54%
Cross Country Trains (392) 54%
London Midland* (429) 53%
Northern Rail (700) 52%
South Eastern (688) 51%
South Western Railway (751) 51%
Thameslink & Great Northern (370) 51%
Southern Railway (860) 39%

Table notes: The more stars the better. A dash indicates the service is not available. Reported punctuality: The train arriving and departing on time. Reliability: How reliable the train service is. Standing space: The availability of standing space, including aisle and doorways. Frequency: How often the trains run. Carriages: The general condition of carriages. Toilets: Availability and cleanliness of on-board toilets. *This franchise no longer exists

Sample sizes in brackets. Overall sample 11,135. A company must have a minimum of 50 respondents to be included in our table. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending that train company to a friend. 

UK train companies rated - commuter rail services
Train company Reported punctuality Reliability Seat availability Standing space Frequency Carriages Toilets Value for money Customer score
Grand Central (52) 64%
Translink NI Railways (53) - 62%
Chiltern Railways (64) 61%
Virgin Trains West Coast (134) 61%
Virgin Trains East Coast (85) 60%
Heathrow Express (60) 59%
Stansted Express (51) - 59%
C2C (87) 58%
Gatwick Express (59) 58%
Cross Country Trains (80) 56%
London Overground (199) - 56%
East Midlands Trains (90) 54%
Merseyrail (71) - 52%
TransPennine Express (86) 52%
Scotrail (87) 51%
Arriva Trains Wales (106) 50%
London Midland (96)* 50%
Great Western Railways (174) 48%
TFL Rail (84) - 48%
Abellio Greater Anglia (130) 45%
Northern Rail (179) 44%
South Western Railway (166) 44%
South Eastern (202) 39%
Thameslink & Great Northern (133) 39%
Southern Railway (216) 28%

Table notes: The more stars the better. A dash indicates we did not receive enough respondents (minimum 50) to provide a rating or the service is not available. Reported punctuality: The train arriving and departing on time. Reliability: How reliable the train service is. Standing space: The availability of standing space, including aisle and doorways.  Frequency: How often the trains run. Carriages: The general condition of carriages. Toilets: Availability and cleanliness of on-board toilets. * this franchise no longer exists

Sample sizes in brackets. Overall sample 2,865. A company must have a minimum of 50 respondents to be included in our table. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending that train company to a friend. 

 Our research

In October and November 2017, members of the public completed an online survey about their experiences of travelling with UK train operators. Our results are based on 14,000 passenger experiences.

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