Train delays UK: 12 worst rail companies for refunds and compensation – including Avanti West Coast and LNER

Almost 14,000 refunds were being issued for rail delays every day at the last count - but which train operators are having to stump up most often?

The British railway companies having to refund and compensate passengers for delays and disruption most often have been revealed in new figures released by the Office for Rail and Road (ORR) today (12 January).

The figures show how many compensation claims for delayed journeys have been dealt with by 24 railway operators across England, Wales and Scotland, and cover a period between 24 July 2022 to 15 October 2022.

During that time, operators have closed 1.45 million delay compensation claims from passengers, with 1.16 million (81%) resulting in a payout. That is an average of 13,900 payouts per day. The number of claims was a 252% increase on the same time last year – however the railways are far busier this year following the easing of pandemic restrictions. Compared to the same period in 2019, there was an increase of 2.1%.

The ORR says there has been a deterioration in train punctuality and reliability, which has also contributed to the rise in the number of compensation claims. Claims are most commonly made via the national Delay Repay Scheme. Passengers can claim if they arrive at their destination 30 or more minutes late because of delays or cancellations (or 15 minutes for some operators), and are entitled to a 100% refund for delays of 60 minutes or more.

NationalWorld has matched the compensation figures with the latest ORR statistics on passenger numbers, to rank the operators. While the latest passenger numbers cover July to September, so are not a perfect match for the compensation statistics, the rate does give a better indication of the number of successful claims relative to the size of the operator.

The analysis reveals huge disparities across services. Across Great Britain as a whole, there were 32 successful claims per 10,000 passenger journeys, but in the case of the worst offender – Avanti West Coast – the rate was more than eight times this.

Avanti West Coast’s services connect northern cities and towns including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Lancaster, Stoke and Blackpool with London and Scotland. Avanti has come under intense scrutiny in recent months over swingeing cuts to services, last minute changes to timetables, and delays, with the government facing pressure to re-nationalise its routes.

An Avanti West Coast spokesperson said: “We know that last summer our customers were not getting the service they deserved and these figures reflect an extremely challenging time. We are sorry for the enormous amount of frustration and inconvenience this caused and we’re grateful for the patience our passengers have shown.

“Over the last few months, our sole focus has been to do everything we can to return to a more resilient operation which delivers more services for our customers and communities. Our new timetable introduced in December has greatly increased the number of services we run and customers are now seeing the benefits of that, with more trains, greater connectivity and tickets on sale much earlier.”

The 12 worst train operators for delays, based on the number of successful claims per 10,000 passenger journeys, are ranked below. Pic

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