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Revealed: The worst train station for London commuters where just 29 per cent of services are on time


With endless train strikes and often unreliable services, commuting to work can cause a lot of stress – especially if you’re making your way into London.

Although it can be cheaper to live outside the capital, you also run the risk of being late to work more often has you have further to travel.

Recent rankings by On Time Trains have revealed the London commuter cities that performed the worst in the past year – with one particular station described as ‘being let down by its dire performance’.

The analysis looked at 30 commuter stations outside the M25, which are all within an hour of London, taking into account a variety of factors including punctuality, speed, frequency and costliness.

Read on to find out how your station ranks on the list, as well as which city is home to the most unreliable trains.

Recent rankings by On Time Trains' have revealed the London commuter cities that performed the worst in the past year - with one particular station described as 'being let down by its dire performance'

Recent rankings by On Time Trains’ have revealed the London commuter cities that performed the worst in the past year – with one particular station described as ‘being let down by its dire performance’

The research disclosed that train fares have become 6% more expensive than they were in 2022, as well as the number of on time commuter services dropping by 7%. 

Although it didn’t rank as worst overall, the London commuter station with the worst performance and most delays was Reading.

With just 29% of trains on time and 64% late by under five minutes, only 29% actually showed up exactly on time.

The research explained that the station was ‘let down’ by it’s ‘dire’ performance score, as it did notably well in the other categories.

When it comes to frequency, speed and value, it got an outstanding five out of five stars for each.

However, nearly 20% of its commuter services were 10 or more minutes late, compared to 11% last year, and 5% were cancelled. 

In the last 3 months of 2023, the 08:20 service to London Paddington arrived within 10 minutes of the timetable barely 50% of the time. 

Although Reading scored the worst for performance and timeliness, Sevenoaks was the station at the bottom of the list when the scores across categories were combined – scoring low on performance, speed and value.

Although didn't rank as worst overall, the London commuter station with the worst performance was Reading (stock image)

Although didn’t rank as worst overall, the London commuter station with the worst performance was Reading (stock image)

Fewer than one-third of its commuter services ran on time in 2023, with the Southeastern services running more slowly than most of the other stations on the list (37mph vs an average of 42mph) and at a higher cost (44p/mile vs 39p/mile). 

On the other end of the scale, topping the list as best commuter city station is Chelmsford, followed by High Wycombe in second place and Shenfield joint third with Wickford. 

Chelmsford’s commuter services were the best performing of all 30 stations, with 88% running on time (up from 80% last year) and barely 1% cancelled. 

Basildon, Woking, Grays and Farnborough (Main) also made the top 10, as did Guildford and Beaconsfield.

Other places sitting at the bottom of the list that you may want to avoid as a London commuter are Welwyn Garden City, Chaltam, Ascot and Redhill. 

In individual categories, the station ranked worst for frequency was Beaconsfield, with Leatherhead ranked worst for speed and Gravesend at the bottom of the list for value.

The research comes just after a different study claimed to have revealed the best and worst commuter cities in the UK and ‘worst’ top spot was not where people expected.

With its overcrowded tube carriages, endless queues and high costs, many Brits would bet on London to win this title by a mile.

But, surprisingly, the English capital comes in second place, with Edinburgh taking the number one spot.

London commuter station rankings 2023-34

  1. Chelmsford
  2. High Wycombe
  3. Shenfield
  4. Wickford
  5. Basildon
  6. Woking
  7. Grays
  8. Farnborough (Main)
  9. Guildford
  10. Beaconsfield – ranked worst for frequency
  11. Luton
  12. Aylesbury
  13. Reading – ranked worst for performance
  14. Maidenhead
  15. Stevenage
  16. Dorking
  17. Cheshunt
  18. Harlow Town
  19. Leatherhead – ranked worst for speed
  20. Slough
  21. Gravesend – ranked worst for value
  22. Oxted
  23. St Albands
  24. Tonbridge
  25. Hemel Hampstead
  26. Redhill
  27. Ascot
  28. Chatham
  29. Welywin Garden City
  30. Sevenoaks 

Source: On Time Trains



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