Arriva Trains, which currently operates services in Wales, was placed near the foot of a customer survey by the consumers’ group Which?
Overcrowding, poor value for money and dirty trains were among the issues raised by the poll of nearly 7,000 travellers. Nearly a third said they experienced delays on their last journey.
Southeastern was the joint worst performing operator alongside Thameslink and its sister service Great Northern, with an “overall satisfaction score” of just 46 per cent.
Abellio Greater Anglia was almost as bad at 47 per cent, followed by Southern and Arriva Trains Wales.
Arriva’s northern arm will assume responsibility for the current Northern Rail franchise across Yorkshire on April 1.
Grand Central, the independent operator which runs trains between Bradford and London, came top of the Which? table with an overall score of 79 per cent, winning the maximum five stars for seat availability, punctuality, cleanliness, reliability and value.
Hull Trains was the runner-up at 73 per cent.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Our report shows that commuters are getting a raw deal from their train operator. Whether it’s dirty facilities on the train, overcrowding or delayed trains, it is clear operators need to up their game.
“Rail operators need to do much more to treat their customers fairly, providing better information and access to compensation when passengers are delayed.”
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “We’re sorry when our passengers don’t get the service they expect.
“Overall satisfaction among rail passengers is up significantly, according to the latest comprehensive survey by independent watchdog Transport Focus, but we know that we can do better to run more trains on time more often.”