Scotland’s Caledonian Sleeper & TransPennine Express rank among the worst train operators

10/01/2024
The Caledonian Sleeper (Photo: Lucy Knott Photography)

TRANSPENNINE Express and Caledonian Sleeper have been revealed to be the operators with the most service disruptions.

New research carried out by accident compensation experts at Claims.co.uk has revealed which train operators have the highest percentage of cancelled or significantly late trains to determine which operator is most likely to experience disruptions throughout 2024.   

The data investigated passenger rail performance between 2018 and 2022, analysing over 20 train operators and their performance.   

Train operators with the highest percentage of cancelled trains, 2018-2022 

RankOperator% of Trains Cancelled (2018-2022)% of Trains on Time (2018-2022)
1TransPennine Express7.95%57.0%
2Avanti West Coast7.58%43.5%
3London North Eastern Railway6.81%62.9%
4Caledonian Sleeper6.76%85.4%
5Govia Thameslink Railway5.77%65.7%
5West Midlands Trains5.77%65.2%
6CrossCountry4.88%48.0%
7TfW Rail4.80%77.7%
8Northern Trains4.44%63.9%
9South Western Railway4.43%66.0%
10Southeastern3.5%68.8%

The data revealed that TransPennine Express is the operator most likely to experience delays throughout the year. Between 2018 and 2022, 7.95% of all trains experienced cancellations or were significantly delayed. Furthermore, the data also revealed that 57% of all trains were on time, which is 18% below the average percentage of on-time trains across all operators. TransPennine Express covers routes across North England, including Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow.  

Avanti West Coast is the second operator most likely to experience cancellations or significant delays. The data revealed that between 2018 and 2022, 7.58% of all trains were disrupted. The data also showed that Avanti West Coast ranks as the operator with the most delayed trains, with only 43.5% of trains being on time. This is 38% below the average percentage of on-time trains across all operators. Avanti West Coast operates nationwide.  

London North Eastern Railway is ranked as the third operator most likely to experience delays with 6.81% of all trains being cancelled or significantly late between 2018-2022. London North Eastern Railway also ranks among the top five operators with the most delays, with only 62.9% of all trains being on time between 2018 and 2022.   

Caledonian Sleeper ranks as the fourth operator most likely to experience disruptions this year. Between 2018 and 2022, 6.76% of all trains were cancelled or experienced significant delays. Additionally, the data also revealed that out of all operators, Caledonian Sleeper had the highest percentage of on-time trains. Between 2018 and 2022, 85.4% of trains were on time, 22% above the average.   

Tying in fifth place are Govia Thameslink Railway and West Midlands Trains, which had 5.77% of trains between 2018 and 2022 experiencing cancellations. Govia Thameslink Railway performed slightly better when it came to the percentage of on-time trains (65.7%) compared to West Midlands Trains (65.2%).   

Rounding off the top ten of operators with the highest percentage of cancelled or significantly late trains are CrossCountry in sixth place with 4.88%; TfW Rail in seventh place with 4.80%; Northern Trains in eighth place with 4.44%; South Western Railway in ninth place with 4.43% and, Southeastern in tenth place with 3.5%. 

A spokesperson for Claims.co.uk has commented on these findings: “Numerous factors can explain why trains end up delayed or cancelled; these range from infrastructure issues to weather and seasonal issues”.  

“TrannsPennine Express ranked as the operator most likely to experience cancellations and delays. The data revealed train faults were this operator’s most common cause of delays. Train faults are issues that result in the train being unfit for service; this could range from doors being unable to lock or PA system faults, which prevent instructions from being given out in an emergency. Between 2018 and 2022, TransPennine Express experienced 1,075 train faults.”  

“It is always best to plan journeys, and if possible, travel slightly earlier as a contingency if trains are delayed or cancelled.” 

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