Another survey has highlighted what passengers using rail services in the south east know only too well – they are not happy.

They are the most disgruntled group in the country with overcrowding, poor value and dirty trains among their chief gripes, according to a Which? poll of 7,000 passengers.

Southeastern was the joint worst performing operator in the research alongside Thameslink and Great Northern, with an overall satisfaction score of just 46%. Southern wasn’t much better at 48%.

The passenger survey comes on the back of figures released by the Office of Rail and Road that showed that Govia Thameslink Railway – responsible for Thameslink and Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services – had the most delays and cancellations caused by a lack of train staff between April 1 2013 and December 12 last year with 62,000 incidents.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Rail operators need to do much more to treat their customers fairly, providing better information and access to compensation when passengers are delayed.”

A Southeastern spokesman said: “We’re part way through a £70million investment programme, refurbishing our trains and stations, providing more front line employees for passengers, improving customer service training and providing more real time information during journeys.”

Govia said: “We know that passenger satisfaction is strongly linked to punctuality and together with our partners Network Rail, we are working hard to improve performance by reducing the delays within our control.”

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: “Overall satisfaction among rail passengers is up significantly, according to the latest comprehensive survey by independent watchdog Transport Focus, but we know that we can do better to run more trains on time more often.”

Long-running improvement work at London Bridge has contributed to delays and dissatisfaction although the substantial upgrades have become a lightning rod for an array of complaints about the service as a whole.

The grip of train operators on the south London suburban services will ease over the next few years as franchises are relinquished and taken over by TfL , a move universally welcomed .


One in 21 trains run by Govia Thameslink Railway were cancelled last year - the worst figure in the country.

The Wharf analysed the last two years of data available from the Office of Rail and Road for severe delays and cancellations on the rail network.

Our investigation found that in the last 12 months a total of 56,257 trains operated by Govia Thameslink Railway – which runs Southern, Great Northern Gatwick Express and Thameslink services in and around London – were either partially or fully cancelled.

This works out at 4.8% of all the company’s scheduled train journeys – the worst record in the country.

It was a worse record than the previous 12 months, when 4.4% of trains were cancelled.

This compares to an average of only 2.6% of all the train operating companies in the figures.

Other networks that did worse than average were Southeastern, First Transpennine Express, CrossCountry and London Midland.

A train counts as “significantly late” if it arrives at its final destination between 30 and 119 minutes behind schedule.

Train Operating Company // Cancelled trains, last 12 months // % cancelled, last 12 months // One in X cancelled

Govia Thameslink Railway // 56,257 // 4.8 // 21

First Transpennine Express // 3,969 // 3.4 // 29

CrossCountry // 3,396 // 3.3 // 31

Southeastern // 18,162 // 2.8 // 35

TfL Rail // 2,077 // 2.5 // 40

Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd // 14,357 // 2.4 // 41

London Overground // 10,091 // 2.0 // 50

Heathrow Express Ltd // 802 // 1.6 // 64

c2c // 1121 // 1.0 // 101

All TOCs // 192897 // 2.6 // 38