Storms and weak performance buffet rail passenger satisfaction

28 June 2018

Earlier this year rail passengers battled the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma – our latest satisfaction stats show the impact.

When stormy, violent and unusual weather battered parts of the country early this year, we welcomed the efforts the rail industry made to run trains rather than bring in blanket cancellations. However, passengers were naturally less satisfied with the resulting patchy performance during storms, and later delays caused by damaged trains.

Transport Focus’s latest National Rail Passenger Survey, capturing the satisfaction of more than 25,000 passengers with their last journey, was published last week.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said:
“In the middle of widespread disruption on the roads, buses and elsewhere during the recent bad weather parts of the rail industry did well to run trains at all, let alone to a timetable. Inevitably, passenger satisfaction was also buffeted by the weather. However, overall, looking at this 10-week period we saw more general rail performance still under stress. A reliable railway remains the key driver of passenger satisfaction.”

Northern and Network Rail
Northern passengers have had a torrid time since the introduction of the new timetable on 20 May. However, even earlier in the year passengers were suffering too many delays and cancellations, hitting passenger satisfaction. Adding to the disruption were three days of strike action this month.

Thameslink, Great Northern and Network Rail
Prior to the new timetable, passengers saw performance stabilise and then improve. This, combined with benefits from having new trains and other welcome investment, such as at London Bridge, had seen passenger satisfaction rise. These improvements have now been squandered in the short term by the timetable crisis.

Falling punctuality added to the weather misery for Scottish passengers.

Scotland was hit by stormy and violent weather early this year. The ability to provide trains at all in some cases, and patchy performance, not surprisingly took a toll on train performance – the key driver of passenger satisfaction. ScotRail and all cross-border operators saw satisfaction with punctuality drop as a result of this and general weak performance.

Welsh rail passengers have reported improved punctuality since last autumn. However, the upkeep and cleanliness of the trains and the ease of making connections were both less well-rated – something that the new Wales and Borders rail service should help address in time.

Click here to explore the results via our infographic.


Back to newsletter

Like what you read? Please click below to share on social media.