The district’s train operating companies are managing to maintain service levels but problems of overcrowding and how they deal with delays remain, according to a new survey.

The National Passenger Survey, published by Passenger Focus, measured customer satisfaction between January and April.

It has revealed that overall satisfaction ratings for East Coast Trains have remained steady, with an 87 per cent rating, two per cent lower than the previous autumn survey. Meanwhile, figures for Northern Rail, which runs trains on the Airedale, Wharfedale and Caldervale lines, have increased one per cent to 83 per cent.

But the survey also showed that passengers still had concerns with overcrowding. In particular, Northern Rail had seen its satisfaction rating drop to 65 per cent, a drop of three per cent.

James Vasey, chairman of the Bradford Rail Users Group, said: “This remains an issue especially on the Caldervale line. This may be rectified in the autumn when more trains are pressed into service but it is something we will continue to watch.”

An area where both companies scored poorly is how well the companies deal with delays. East Coast Train’s rating fell ten per cent to 52 per cent and Northern Rail’s fell nine per cent to 35 per cent.

Mr Vasey said: “This is a definite issue on the Calderdale line. If a train is delayed by more than ten minutes it no longer appears on the electronic board and people don’t know what is happening.”

The report showed an improvement of two per cent in passenger satisfaction with East Coast Trains’ punctuality and reliability to 85 per cent, but satisfaction with Northern Rail’s punctuality and reliability decreased by one per cent to 78 per cent.

Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail Users Group, said: “The Airedale and Wharfedale line has improved a great deal lately and Northern Rail have made the best of what they have but improvements need to be funded by the Government.”

An East Coast spokesman said: “Our services were severely delayed on five days during the survey, all of which were due to external factors beyond East Coast’s control. Four days by infrastructure problems and the fifth by severe weather. Had they not happened, East Coast would have equalled its spring 2010 satisfaction rating and beaten the long distance operator average this time.

“We are also delivering significant improvements to our customer experience, including through a new timetable which provides 117 more services per week and many faster journeys.”

  • Read the full story Thursday’s T&A