How do Britons rate their local train services?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
November 25, 2021, 9:04 AM UTC

Wales has the highest proportion of people saying their local services are bad

Transport bosses have slammed the government’s newly released plans to upgrade rail transport in the North of England. Despite repeated promises of new infrastructure being a key component of the government’s “levelling up” strategy, the Integrated Rail Review announced today by Grant Shapps falls short of these assurances. Among the most significant changes is the cancellation of the eastern leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds. Other changes include replacing plans for entirely new rail links with upgrades to existing routes.

A recent YouGov survey found a London vs the rest of Britain pattern when asking people what they thought of their local train services. Londoners are the most likely to say their local train services are good 72% – 21pts higher than the general population – and including some 21% who rated them as “very good”. Only 10% say their local line is bad,

At the other end of the scale, people in Wales are the least likely to say their service is good (41%), while 22% say it is bad, just 6pts higher than London. The difference compared to the capital largely comes from more people saying they don’t know (26% vs 15%). A higher percentage of people in the Wales also say they don’t have a local service at all (11%) than London (2%).

In several other areas of the country, including both the East and West Midlands for example, over twice as many people are unsure whether their local trains are good or bad (36% and 32% respectively) compared to the capital.

Wales in particular also has the lowest proportion of adults in rural and fringe areas who think their local trains are good (29%) compared to 46% in urban areas. However, roughly similar proportions of people in both areas (22% in urban and 23% in rural/fringe areas) say their local rail service is bad.

Similar proportions of rural and urban adults rate their services as bad in other areas too, including both the East of England, and East Midlands. However, places such as the South West and North West of England, as well as Scotland, do stand out as having rural populations being somewhat more likely to think their trains are bad than urban populations,

Northern areas are among the most likely to say their local train services are bad

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, has been outspoken in his opposition to the changes to plans and Northern newspapers have released joint covers calling the government to keep its promises of investment to the North.

Their frustration is reflected in Northerners’ views of their rail services. Just two Northern areas are in the top ten for counties where people say their local rail services are good: Merseyside (70%) and North Yorkshire (55%).

Northern areas also make up five of the top ten counties where people say they have actively bad train services. This includes Cumbria, where people are the most likely of any county to say their local service is bad (25%), as well as Lancashire (21%), East Riding of Yorkshire (21%), Lincolnshire (21%), Greater Manchester (21%), and West Yorkshire (20%).

See full results here 

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