More than half of trains run by TransPennine Express and Northern are delayed
Just 45.8 per cent of stops at stations by TransPennine Express trains were within a minute of the schedule between October 16 and November 12, analysis of Office of Rail and Road (ORR) data by the PA news agency found. At 48 per cent, Northern's punctuality was only slightly better.
Both three operators have been hit by staffing problems, with many drivers refusing to volunteer to work on rest days.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said on Wednesday he is "under no illusions" about the "real problem" blighting northern England's railways. He made the comments after holding talks with five of the region's metro mayors, who said the discussion was "positive" but stressed they need more than "warm words" to fix the disruption "causing misery for millions".
Elsewhere, LNER's on-time figure between October 16 and November 12 was 50.1 per cent, while East Midlands Railway managed 45.5 per cent - its worst performance on record. Avanti West Coast, which serves north-west England as part of its long-distance routes on the West Coast Main Line, recorded an on-time figure of 33.3 per cent.
That was close to its worst four-week period on record, which was in autumn 2019 when 31.4 per cent of stops at stations were not delayed.
For Britain as a whole, 60.7 per cent of trains were on time. The ORR figures also show the industry's cancellations score during the same period was 4.1 per cent. This reflects the percentage of services either fully or partly cancelled. Each part cancellation counts as half a full cancellation. The figures do not include trains removed from timetables before 10pm the previous day.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, said: "In 2019/2020, 64.8 per cent of trains arrived on time. Since then, the industry has had to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic. This year has seen a national rail dispute and extreme weather challenges ranging from three named storms and flooding to heatwaves where temperatures peaked above 40 degrees.
"It is also important to consider wider data. For example, between May 1 to October 15 more than 87 per cent of trains arrived within five minutes of their scheduled arrival time on commuter and regional routes and 10 minutes for long distance services. This measures both reliability (ie that a train service ran) and punctuality."