TRAIN passengers are less satisfied with Northern services than any other, according to the latest survey.

Transport Focus, the independent transport user watchdog, has published its biannual national rail passenger survey, revealing that Northern passengers are not as satisfied with the service than passengers using other rail operators.

The survey revealed that nationally, overall satisfaction on railways has increased by three per cent to 83 per cent compared to last year with West Midlands, operator of services through Winsford and Hartford, standing at 84 percent overall satisfaction, just above the national average.

Northern, operator of the Mid Cheshire line connecting Chester to Manchester via Northwich and Knutsford stations currently stands well below the national average at 78 percent, with a two per cent drop in overall satisfaction since Spring 2018 but with a six per cent improvement since August 2018.

The reliability of internet connection and availability of power sockets on Northern trains had the least overall satisfaction at 39 per cent and 31 per cent, according to the Transport Focus survey.

John Oates, chairman of the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association said: “With 34 per cent of Northern passengers saying they are not happy with their overall train journey and 21 per cent saying they are not happy with their experience at the stations, this makes for depressing reading.

"More recently, MCRUA have been having positive discussions with local Northern management and we are pleased there has been a six per cent improvement in satisfaction over the past six months.

"Our own reporting suggests that the punctuality and reliability of our Mid Cheshire Line trains is improving although we still have a long way to go.

"Northern have started to implement their rolling stock improvements and while we will not see new stock on our line, we are very hopeful the 1980s Pacer trains will be retired by the end of the year.”

Despite still being below the national average for customer satisfaction, Northern deputy managing director says that the company draws encouragement from the fact its score has improved since last year.

Richard Allan, deputy managing director at Northern, said: "It is encouraging that our overall score and many individual question scores have improved from autumn 2018, reflecting a more stable train service and better performance, and the ongoing investment in refurbishing our trains.

“However, we want to achieve much higher levels of customer satisfaction so there is much to do, particularly on train capacity, and the first nine of our 101 new trains have now entered service as of July 1.

"This £500 million fleet of two, three and four carriage trains will provide a huge improvement in the on-train experience for customers, with features including air conditioning, free WiFi and power sockets.”