Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and late trains revealed

Which? survey finds Manchester, York and Birmingham have the most delayed and cancelled trains


Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 16 October 2018 12:42
The UK's worst train stations for delays and cancellations revealed

At key stations outside London as few as one in three trains is on time, a survey by Which? has found.

The consumer organisation studied punctuality data for the 10 busiest London stations and 20 busiest outside the capital for the first nine months of 2018, to reveal what it calls “Britain’s train travel blackspots”.

Manchester Oxford Road performed worst, with 68 per cent of trains running late or cancelled altogether. It is a key station in the southwest of Manchester city centre, with services to Merseyside, Yorkshire, Tyneside and Scotland.

Peak time services were even more likely to be late, at 77 per cent. One in 20 trains was cancelled.

Manchester Piccadilly – less than a mile from Oxford Road, and the main terminus for the city – was in sixth place, with 56 per cent of trains late or cancelled.

York, the halfway point on the east coast main line between London and Edinburgh, was in second place nationwide with 65 per cent of trains late.

Virgin Trains East Coast and its nationalised successor, LNER, performed worst at the station, with three-quarters of services late and 3 per cent cancelled.

At Birmingham New Street and Gatwick Airport, 60 per cent of trains ran late or were cancelled.

Fifth place was taken by Bristol Temple Meads, the main hub for the west of England, with 58 per cent of trains late.

Among the 10 busiest London stations, Clapham Junction saw most delays, with 54 per cent delayed or cancelled.

London Victoria was the worst-performing terminus (44 per cent), with St Pancras the least bad at 30 per cent.

The best performing station overall was Brighton, where almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of trains left on time.

Alex Hayman, managing director of Public Markets for Which?, said: “Passengers have told us reliability is hugely important to them. People have been left deeply frustrated at the unacceptably high levels of delays and cancellations which impact on their everyday lives.

“Passengers must be at the centre of the forthcoming government rail review, it must look at performance targets to drive improvements in punctuality and reliability for passengers.”

The organisation is demanding fully automatic compensation for passengers whose trains are significantly delayed.

Which? used information from the tracking site, and counted as delayed any train that departed one minute or more late. For trains that both arrived and departed from a station, it counted the worst figure.

For example, LNER trains calling at York are scheduled to spend three minutes at the platform. If a train arrived two minutes late but left on time, it was still counted as late.

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The standard “public performance measure” (PPM) counts commuter or regional trains as being on time if they arrive up to five minutes late, and longer-distance trains if they are no more than 10 minutes behind schedule.

Robert Nisbet, regional director at the Rail Delivery group, which represents train operator and Network Rail, said: “We know how frustrating delays are which is why, as part of our long-term plan, we’re investing billions to ease congestion, reduce delays and minimise disruption.

“We’re also improving awareness of compensation with payments increasing 80 per cent in the last two years.”

The rail expert Mark Smith said: “It’s not about the best and worst stations, but about train performance.

“Lovely to have an on-time-to-the-minute railway, of course, but if it’s really going to ruin your day to be 65 seconds late you’re probably on the way to coronary for all sorts of reasons, not just your train to work.”

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