Grand Central at the top, Northern at the bottom: Latest rail passenger satisfaction scores revealed

One of the first Grand Central HST services at York Station. Photograph: YorkMix
28 Jan 2020 @ 1.30 pm
| Transport

When it comes to passenger satisfaction, our region’s train operators are at both ends of the league table.

Grand Central is the top performing long-distance operator, with a satisfaction score of 94% – just two points behind the company with the highest overall result, Heathrow Express.

However, Northern languishes at the bottom with a satisfaction score of only 72%.


Grand Central was also rated best overall for value for money, scoring 75%, compared with a national average of 47%.

MD Richard McClean said:

  • What matters to our customers matters to us – a good service at a good price.

    We’re proud of our track record and our commitment to customer experience, but we can always do more to deliver more benefits for our passengers and great quality services at the heart of communities we serve.

Adding to Northern’s woes

A Northern train at York station. Photograph: YorkMix
The poor score for Northern is likely to be followed by its renationalisation.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is reported to be planning to bring it back into public control later this week.

Parent company Arriva has acknowledged that “services on the Northern network are not yet good enough” and apologised to customers. But it says many of the problems were caused by factors out of its direct control.


LNER, meanwhile, scored 89% in the passenger satisfaction survey.

“We continue to build on the work we’ve already done to deliver even more value for money; making travel simpler, smarter and keeping the customer at the heart of all we do,” said MD David Horne.

Transpennine Express had a satisfaction rating of 79% – the fourth worst – although this is 6% better than last year.

‘Hollow victory’

Nearly 28,000 passengers were questioned for the latest National Rail Passenger Survey.

Survey organiser Transport Focus found that 82% of travellers were satisfied with their journeys in autumn 2019, up three percentage points year-on-year.

A spokesman for the organisation said:

  • Satisfaction is up, but this is a hollow victory for train companies.

    A small improvement on the worst score in 10 years is nothing to celebrate.