An average of 57 trains are significantly late every day in Britain according to data from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) which shows that 5,250 trains were between 30 and 119 minutes late from July to September last year.
The figures do not include trains that were at least two hours late.
James MacColl of the Campaign for Better Transport urged train companies to make more effort to ensure passengers receive compensation when services were significantly delayed.
He said: “Late-running trains can be very frustrating, but far too few passengers understand when they’re due compensation or how they should go about claiming it.
“With record numbers of people now relying on the railways - and technology like
electronic tickets becoming more widespread - this needs to change.”
Mr MacColl called for operators to make sure passengers knew their rights and to ensure everyone affected by major delays got some of their money back automatically when possible.
“With big investment going into the railways, it’s also essential that the whole industry works together to minimise disruption and keep the trains running to time,” he said.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, described timetables as a “promise to passengers” and insisted “we never want people to suffer delays or disruption”.
He added: “Train operators and Network Rail are working hard together every day to deliver a better, more punctual railway and to give people better information when things do go wrong.
“The rail industry has cut the number of incidents causing delays every year, but a busier network means that incidents can have a greater knock-on effect.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Private rail companies get massive public subsidies, but they still can’t run the trains on time.
“It seems that maximising profits is more important than delivering a good service. We need to return the railways to public ownership, so that more money can be spent on better services not shareholder profit.”