NORTHERN Rail is one of the least trusted train companies in the country, according to watchdog research.

Passenger Focus surveyed 4,000 people and found many did not trust their train company to provide a good day-to-day service, or to be truthful, fair or communicate well.

Northern Rail, alongside Southern and Southeastern, scored most negative in the trust-in-service category which looks at punctuality and reliability, value for money, solving problems, and how helpful staff are at stations and on the trains.

The chairman of the Bradford Rail Users' Group James Vasey said: "I am shocked Northern Rail came so low for elements of it.

"I'm quite surprised how negative they have been marked.

"I do accept that punctuality is an issue Northern Rail suffer from. It could be improved upon - into Leeds and other parts of the county it is a problem.

"I have found Northern Rail staff at stations to be extremely helpful around Bradford.

"The value for money is extremely good in West Yorkshire, due to the way that rail fares is subsidised."

Managing director for Northern Rail Alex Hynes said: "Building a level of trust with our customers is very important to us. With a network as large and varied as ours, we work hard to get the basics right but building relationships can be a challenge.

"We are committed to making improvements and this survey gives us a clear indication of where we can do better.”

The Passenger Focus survey concluded: "To build greater trust with passengers, it is important not only to deliver a punctual and reliable service but also to build a stronger relationship with passengers, this being based on communicating openly and honestly."

Tim Calow, the chairman of the Aire Valley Rail Users' Group, said trust issues were not a big concern for passengers in the Aire Valley.

He added: "The service in Airedale generally runs well. Trust issues are not something I recognise here.

"Over the last couple of years, value for money fares have gone up a bit more - but I have not heard a lot of complaints at the moment."