Rail services under fire in train survey

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trains operating across South Yorkshire were branded ‘cattle carts’ in a survey about railway services.

Northern Rail, which operates local services throughout the region, was ranked the worst regional train service in the country in the study by Which? magazine.

East Midlands Trains, which operates trains between Sheffield and London, Nottingham and Manchester, was ranked fourth out of all 18 train companies, with a rating of 57 out of 100 based on overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending the company to a friend.

East Coast, which operates services between London and Edinburgh, via Doncaster, also scored 57 to share fourth.

CrossCountry, which links Sheffield with the south west and north east, was ranked sixth with a score of 56.

First TransPennine Express, which runs services between Sheffield and Manchester and Cleethorpes was ranked 10th, with a rating of 54, two places ahead of Northern, which achieved a score of 49, but also finished bottom of the regional service table.

Its worst star ratings were for state of repair and cleanliness and frequency. Which? said one customer described the trains as ‘cattle carts’.

But Northern’s passengers did praise staff, improved reliability and punctuality and it scored well for value.

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “Customer feedback is valuable to us.

“The sample size in this survey represents a minute proportion of our total customer base making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.

“However, we will take these comments on board.”

An East Midlands Trains spokeswoman said: “We’re always pleased to get feedback to build on the work we’re doing to drive up the quality of rail travel.

“The national passenger survey also shows satisfaction with East Midlands Trains is high, with the latest survey showing 87 per cent overall satisfaction, above the national average.

“More importantly, only five per cent of the passengers interviewed said they were dissatisfied with their East Midlands Trains service.

“Satisfaction continues to grow in many other key areas, such as punctuality.

“However, we are not complacent and will study the Which? findings as part of our commitment to deliver a better railway to passengers and help ensure customer satisfaction continues to grow.”