For the third year in a row, Southern Railway has scored the lowest customer satisfaction ranking in a survey by Which magazine.

The consumer magazine says that it asked 14,000 train passengers for their opinions of the train companies they use so that it could build the ranking chart for the UK’s 28 rail operating companies.

At the bottom of the charts, Southern Railway scored just 28% of customers being satisfied with the service.

Survey respondents also complained of expensive tickets, dirty carriages and rude staff. One described it as “the worst performing train company in the UK” and another said “it is very hard to know whether your train is running or not – you just can’t rely on them”.

The three worst performing companies, as ranking by customers, are all in the South-East of England — Southern, Southeastern and Thameslink & Great Northern. Two-thirds of rail commuters think the service from their train company has stayed the same and 13% say that it has got worse. Just 20% say that they have seen an improvement.

Showing that it need not be entirely bad on the railways, long-distance firm Grand Central, which runs trains between London and the North East, topped the chart with 64%.

Train company Customer score Punctuality Availability of seats Availability of standing space Value for money
1 Grand Central (52) 64% **** **** **** ****
2 Translink NI Railways (53) 62% **** *** **** ****
3 Chiltern Railway (64) 61% **** **** *** ***
3 Virgin Trains West Coast (134) 61% **** **** **** ***
.. ..
27 South Eastern (202) 39% ** ** ** *
27 Thameslink & Great Northern (133) 39% *** ** *** **
28 Southern Railway (216) 28% ** * ** *

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Article last updated: 16 January 2022 08:53


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  1. Andrew says:

    Of course the staff are grumpy and rude when they work for such a rubbish company. They can only apologise so much and explain away problems which they they have no real knowledge or up to date information about.

  2. Josh says:

    Shame. It’s a nice livery.

    Given that the losers are operating in that Southern sector though, you have to wonder how much that clackety infrastructure is contributing to the problems these companies have delivering a decent service.

    Also, being strictly commuter only, I’d imagine they have a tougher audience with no laid back discretionary long distance passengers to help flatter their numbers.

  3. Andrew Gwilt says:

    For me as I live in Essex. I think Greater Anglia are also the worst train operator because they always seem to have problems with broken down trains and at times having overhead wiring problems, signalling problems and shortage of staff. Plus they were on strike but it didn’t affect most services.

    Whilst c2c are the best train operator in South Essex with their trains operating on time. But yes sometimes they too have problems with their trains that breaks down and having overhead wiring problems and signaling problems. But I still do like c2c.

    At least both train operators will be getting brand new trains coming in few years that will reduce the pressure of full up carriages and introduce longer carriages to cope with more extra passengers and more extra seats during rush hour.

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