Heathrow Express scores highest rating for overall satisfaction in latest National Rail Passenger Survey

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5th February 2020 12:05 - Transport and Distribution

Heathrow Express scores highest rating for overall satisfaction in latest National Rail Passenger Survey: The results of the annual National Rail Passenger Survey have been published, with Heathrow Express achieving the highest level of satisfaction of all national train operators, with 96% of passengers satisfied with their journey, or rating it as 'good'.

Grand Central was ranked in second place (94%), followed by Hull Trains (92%), Merseyrail (91%) and Chiltern Railways (90%).

At the other end of the table in the annual poll by Transport Focus was Northern, with an overall satisfaction rating of 72%, followed by West Midlands Trains (73%) South Western Railway (74%), TransPennine Express (79%) and Transport for Wales (79%). 

When it came to the percentage of journeys rated satisfactory overall, Great Northern saw the greatest leap in satisfaction, with its score increasing 12 percentage points on last year. ScotRail saw the second greatest climb, with an increase of nine percentage points. Great Western Railway, Southern Railways and Greater Anglia also saw increased satisfaction - all up 8 percentage points, with Transpennine Express (+6 percentage points), Thameslink (+4 percentage points) and London Overground (+3 percentage points) also on the up. 

Achieving lower satisfaction scores than last year were West Midland Trains (-11 percentage points) and Virgin Trains (-5 percentage points), with the report stating that 'all other TOCs had no statistically significant change in their overall satisfaction results compared with autumn 2018'. 

Station Facilities 

When it came to overall satisfaction with regards to station facilities, 80% of respondents said they were satisfied or standards were ‘good’. 

Unpicking station satisfaction a little further, the survey revealed that just half the passengers polled were satisfied with the toilets (31% were dissatisfied), while just over half (51%) were satisfied with the choice of shops or eating venues available (28% dissatisfied). 

The greatest cause of customer satisfaction related to how requests to staff were handled (87%), while the greatest source of dissatisfaction was with the availability of Wi-Fi (45%).


When it comes to the trains themselves, 78% of respondents said they were satisfied overall, with the speed of the train getting the highest satisfaction score (83%).  Ranking second was 'connections with other train services' (77%), followed by ‘provision of information during the journey’ (76%) and ‘cleanliness of the inside’ (76%). 

Causing the greatest dissatisfaction was the availability of power sockets (51%) followed by the reliability of the internet connection (49%).

However, compared to last year, satisfaction levels regarding the availability of power sockets had improved by seven percentage points - making it the greatest improvement area. Satisfaction levels had also improved for the 'usefulness of information about the delay', increasing by six percentage points.  

The survey also rated each individual train operating company (TOC) across 41 areas according to the satisfaction levels of passengers. 

Punctuality and Reliability 

When it came to punctuality and reliability, Heathrow Express was the best rated (95%), followed by Merseyrail (91%) and Grand Central (90%), while at the other end of the table were West Midlands Railway (60%), South Western (63%) and Northern (65%)

Value of Ticket

Fewer than half the 28,000 passengers polled were satisfied with the value of their ticket, according to the survey, with South Western ranking bottom with a 34% satisfaction score. Also at the bottom end of the table were Southeastern (39%), Thameslink (42%), Great Northern (42%) and Great Anglia (43%). 

The best rated were Grand Central (75%), Merseyrail (67%), Hull Trains (65%) and Virgin Trains (64%)

You can find out further details including further insight for each train service provider here: National Rail Passenger Survey 2019

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