Best train station for London commuters revealed

Sevenoaks was bottom of the table as less than a third of its Southeastern commuter services ran on time (PA)
Sevenoaks was bottom of the table as less than a third of its Southeastern commuter services ran on time (PA)

Chelmsford has been named the best train station for London commuters, while the Elizabeth line has helped Shenfield to claim third place.

Passengers using Reading, at the other end of the Elizabeth line, had to endure a “dire performance”, with almost 20 per cent of trains - including those operated by GWR - arriving at least 10 minutes late. A further five per cent were cancelled.

This highlights the ongoing issues suffered by passengers trying to get in and out of Paddington due to track and signalling failures on Network Rail infrastructure.

The annual analysis, by the On Time Trains website, gave Chelmsford top spot – up from second last year – because 88 per cent of its trains ran on time and barely one per cent were cancelled. The station is served by Greater Anglia, which also runs trains to and from Shenfield.

High Wycombe came second, Wickford fourth and Basildon fifth. Sevenoaks was bottom of the table as less than a third of its Southeastern commuter services ran on time.

The analysis looks at 30 London commuter stations outside the M25, each within an hour's travel time of the capital and with more than a million (pre-pandemic) passenger journeys per year.

Mark Wherity, who runs On Time Trains, said: “London commuters returning to the workplace had double the reason to check before they travelled in 2023, with industrial action continuing throughout the year, and worse performance compared to 2022 even when services were due to run.

“As fares were hiked by six per cent, the number of on time commuter services dropped seven per cent to 56 per cent, and services delayed by five or more minutes increased by three points to 15 per cent.

“Whilst these figures were better than the pre-pandemic averages (just 45 per cent on time), commuters would be justified in wondering what will happen once passenger and service numbers catch back up to pre-pandemic levels.”

Services were ranked on four measures – performance (how often trains arrive on time), frequency, speed and value (in terms of the cost per mile).

At Chelmsford, an increase in the number of morning peak services meant passengers waited for an average of just eight minutes on their way to and from London Liverpool Street.

Woking, which topped the table in 2022, fell to sixth as it had fewer trains on time and twice the number of cancellations. But only Shenfield and Reading had more trains in the morning peak.

St Albans, which came last in 2022, climbed seven places. Its commuter services were still delayed (48 per cent) more often than they were on time, but cancellations dropped from a record eight per cent to five per cent.

However passengers using its Thameslink services had to pay some of the highest of all London commuter fares – 52p per mile.

Like Reading, Slough also suffered with infrastructure problems on the Great Western Main Line.

The proportion of trains that were 10 minutes or more late doubled to eight per cent, while cancellations increased to seven per cent, making it one of the biggest fallers on the list to 20th place.