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Passengers complain of overcrowding, poor value for money, dirty trains and the 'worst performing' rail operators

Rail passengers complain: Overcrowding and dirty trains. Credit: PA

Passengers have complained about overcrowding, poor value for money and dirty trains in London and the south east as survey by consumer group Which? revealed they are the least satisfied in Britain.

Overcrowding, poor value for money and dirty trains were among the issues raised by the poll of almost 7,000 travelers.

  • Southeastern was the joint worst performing operator in the research alongside Thameslink and Great Northern, with an overall satisfaction score of just 46%.
  • Abellio Greater Anglia was almost as bad at 47%
  • Southern (48%)
  • Arriva Trains Wales (49%).

Long-running improvement work at London Bridge station has contributed to disruption in the South East.

62,000
Govia Thameslink Railway delays and cancellations

Figures released by the Office of Rail and Road last week revealed that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) - which is 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.

Almost a third (32%) of commuters said they experienced delays on their last journey.

Our report shows that commuters are getting a raw deal from their train operator. Whether it's dirty facilities on the train, overcrowding or delayed trains, it is clear operators need to up their game.

Rail operators need to do much more to treat their customers fairly, providing better information and access to compensation when passengers are delayed.

– Which? executive director Richard Lloy

Which? surveyed 6,986 commuter and leisure passengers in November last year about their train journeys during the past 12 months.

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) of more than 28,000 people published by Transport Focus last month found an increase in overall satisfaction to 83% in autumn 2015 - up from 81% year on year.

We're part way through a £70 million 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.

– Southeastern spokesman

Southeastern recorded a satisfaction score of 75%, while Thameslink and Great Northern were split to give scores of 73% and 84% respectively.

GTR issued a statement which read: "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: "We're sorry when our passengers don't get the service they expect. We never want people to suffer delays or disruption.

"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."