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Watchdog finds Virgin run most delayed trains

Photo: PA

Virgin Trains West Coast, which runs services through Cumbria and southern Scotland, has one of the highest records of significant delays, according to new research.

Passengers across the UK lost at least 3.6 million hours due to significantly delayed trains in 2016/17, consumer group Which? has said.

It also found that delays of at least half an hour affected 7.2 million passenger journeys.

Virgin Trains West Coast had 2% of its services run from 30 minutes to two hours late between April 2016 and March this year.

The company says 80% of delays are outside its control.

Virgin Trains East Coast had the highest proportion of significantly delayed trains with 3.7 per cent of its services run between 30 minutes and two hours late.

The research was released ahead of the 3.4% average fare increase on Tuesday.

Which? managing director of public markets Alex Hayman said delays suffered by passengers are "even more infuriating" when they struggle to claim compensation:

The progress to date is simply not good enough.

If train companies can't simplify unnecessarily complex claims systems for delayed customers, then government must press for automatic compensation to be introduced across the industry so that people can get the money they are owed."

– Alex Hayman, managing director, Which?

A Virgin Trains spokesman said:

Clearly, it's harder to run trains exactly to time over a 400-mile route, and around 80 per cent of delays are outside of our control.

But we always want to do the best for our passengers which is why we make claiming for delays as easy as possible and introduced industry-leading automatic compensation on our West Coast route."

– Virgin trains spokesperson