Rail firm is rated worst in country

A Northern Rail train

A Northern Rail train

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Northern Rail customers are the least satisfied in the country, a report from an independent train watchdog has found.

The service, which operates across South Yorkshire, has the lowest score of any train company in the UK and is way behind First Hull Trains which scored 96 per cent.

The survey, carried out by Passenger Focus, found overall satisfaction with Northern Rail was 76 per cent – the lowest since early 2009.

The firm scored three points lower than in last Autumn’s survey which was carried out before fares went up by 4.2 per cent in January.

Passenger Focus found 69 per cent of those quizzed were happy with the punctuality of trains, while only 42 per cent were happy with ticket prices.

Only 29 per cent of regular commuters felt they were getting value for money.

Passenger Focus chief executive, Anthony Smith, said: “Passengers are now the main overall funder of Great Britain’s railway, so it is vital that their key needs are met.”

Alan Chaplin, chief operating officer for Northern Rail said: “It’s disappointing to see the number of customers satisfied with our service reducing slightly. The survey shows us the key reason was our punctuality score and we understand how important it is for our customers that their train is on time.”

He said at the time of the survey, there had been ‘exceptional weather’ in South Yorkshire and a landslip at Hatfield.

He added Northern Rail would be upgrading 70 carriages in the next year.