Named and shamed: UK's worst stations

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The Independent Online

The 10 worst railway stations in the country were named and shamed in a report out today.

Manchester Victoria received the lowest satisfaction rating, followed by Clapham Junction, in south London, and Crewe, in Cheshire, according to the inspectors' report, which calls on the Government to invest £50 million to carry out urgent improvements.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who witnessed the dilapidated state of some stations when he toured the country by train last summer, is due to visit 10 of the worst performers today, beginning at Clapham Junction.

He said rail operators would be required to set basic minimum standards for all stations in future.

The others in the worst station list were Barking, Stockport, Preston, Wigan North Western, Liverpool Central, Warrington Bank Quay and Luton.

They were identified in a report by the Station Champions - Sir Peter Hall and Chris Green.

Lord Adonis said: "While touring the rail network in April this year, I was struck by the great variation in the passenger facilities at stations. Train travel has improved a good deal in recent years, but more needs to be done to improve conditions and services for passengers at stations.

"I want every station to be a good station - a hub of local community life and somewhere that you wouldn't mind spending time, with adequate facilities.

"I support the report's recommendations of minimum standards for stations - classed by size - in terms of information, car and bike parking, facilities and environment.

"I intend to make these minimum standards a requirement in future rail franchise agreements with train operating companies."

Sir Peter and Mr Green said: Stations cannot be seen in isolation - they are part of the total journey experience.

"Stations are deeply entwined with their local community and effectively act as the gateway to both town and railway. They leave passengers with their lasting impressions of both. A dilapidated station is bad business for both town and railway.

"The last decade has seen the rail industry focus successfully on restoring reliability and investing in a record number of new trains. The next decade should build on this foundation to deliver the total journey experience - but to do this it will have to focus more on its stations."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: "Passengers standing on wind-swept platforms across Britain should be able to find out if their train is coming or not. There are all too many stations that do not have any real-time information and in the 21st century this is outrageous.

"Today's report highlights this issue, and supports our position that real-time information should be standard, not a luxury."

He went on: "Furthermore, passengers tell us that at larger stations there needs to be available staff for advice and security.

"There should also be passenger satisfaction targets for stations in the franchise deal that means train companies have to tackle station cleanliness, lighting, provision of seating, removal of graffiti and maintenance of lifts."

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "Stations are the shopfront for the railways. This is a comprehensive report which rightly highlights that, while passenger satisfaction with stations has risen in recent years, much more needs to be done to deliver a consistently good station experience.

"Train companies have been working with their industry partners to prioritise local improvements, encourage third-party funding for projects and improve the accessibility of stations. We want to see operators encouraged to do more in two ways acknowledged in the report."

He went on: "By allowing train companies to take on more responsibility for station upgrades, we believe that operators, with their lower overheads and more streamlined decision-making, could deliver improvements more quickly and save over £250 million, which could be ploughed back into other station improvements.

"The report also says that longer franchises would encourage train companies to take a longer-term view on station modernisation, which we support. Moving towards franchises which run for 15 years or more would improve the chances of attracting more private funding to invest in better stations.

"We look forward to working with others in following up the recommendations in this report, particularly in how the franchising process can be used to harness train companies' innovation to deliver better stations and in the proposed review within two months for further improving the management of stations."