Britain's worst rail services revealed

Dozens of our rail services usually arrive late, researchers have revealed – and one was behind schedule a remarkable 240 times last year.

The worst train journey was the 0924 from Caterham, Surrey, to London Victoria, said experts Raildar, who analysed all journeys in England in 2017.

The 240 occasions the Govia Thameslink service was late included every working day in October, apart from one day – when it was cancelled. And it has been late every day so far this year.

Our failing trains are exposed as weekly ticket prices went up by an average of 3.4% - the biggest increase in five years.

The 2227 from Leicester to Birmingham New Street, operated by Cross Country was also late 239 times, while Govia Thameslink’s 1728 service from Brighton to London Victoria was just behind with 238 late recorded arrival times.

A spokesman for Govia Thameslink said: “A significant proportion of the causes of these delays are beyond our control.”

And Cross Country said their worst service was “frequently delayed by other trains on its journey”.

Campaigners say passengers pay sky-high fares and face daily delays and cancellations for often overcrowded services. And there will more misery next Monday, Wednesday and Friday when RMT union members will strike over the role of guards at South Western Railway, Arriva Rail North, Merseyrail and Greater Anglia, and on Monday on Southern.

Bruce Williamson, of pressure group Railfuture said: “We all want a reliable punctual train service, and it must be very frustrating for passengers that they aren’t getting it.

“Whilst refunds are available for late trains, everyone would be happier not to have to receive them.

“The pain of recent inflation-busting rail fares might be easier to swallow if we didn’t have to put up with timetable-busting rail services.”

It now costs less to drive the 1,140 miles from Inverness, Scotland, to London than take the train, after rail fare hikes. It costs £125 to drive, while the cheapest next-day return ticket has risen to £171.40.

Worst track records, 2017

  1. Govia Thameslink: 09:24 Caterham to London Victoria - Late 240 times
  2. Cross Country, 22:27 Leicester to Birmingham New Street - 239
  3. Govia Thameslink, 17:28 Brighton to London Victoria - 238
  4. Cross Country, 10:27 Stansted Airport to Birmingham New Street - 237
  5. Cross Country, 07:21 Stansted Airport to Birmingham New Street - 236
  6. Northern Rail, 07:50 Hazel Grove to Manchester Piccadilly - 235
  7. Govia Thameslink, 09:54 Kings Lynn to London Kings Cross - 234
  8. Govia Thameslink, 17:59 London Bridge to Horsham - 234
  9. Abellio Greater Anglia, 11:10 Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street - 233
  10. Northern Rail, 06:46 Manchester Piccadilly to Gorton - 233