HAMPSHIRE’s principal train operating company has been ranked one of the worst in the country.

South Western Railway has been rated the third worst rail operator for customer satisfaction by passenger campaign group Transport Focus.

The data showed that only 75 per cent of South Western railway passengers were happy with their service and 36 per cent of peak-time passengers said they were dissatisfied with the service.

The operator also scored below the national average in the value for money, punctuality and crowding categories with scores of 36, 64 and 57 per cent.

The statistics are from the National Rail Passenger Survey which surveyed 27,819 passengers last autumn.

SWR customers account for 13 per cent of all passengers in Great Britain, making it one of the largest rail operators in the UK.

Meanwhile, Southern Rail, which operates between Southampton and Fareham, Havant and Brighton, was ranked the second worst with only 72 per cent of passengers satisfied with the service. and 38 per cent rating the operator good value for money.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “It’s all about performance – these value for money scores reflect patchy reliability.

“In London and the South East, Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern passengers have felt performance pick up. However, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Arriva Trains Wales passengers, among others, have been buffeted by poorer performance.”

“Train companies and Network Rail need to keep to their basic promises and deliver a relentless focus on day-to-day performance and better information during disruption.”

A SWR spokesperson said: “We are disappointed but not surprised with the results as the survey was undertaken during the weeks following work to lengthen platforms at Waterloo which can now accommodate longer trains.”

“During this time our passengers’ journeys were disrupted by infrastructure issues and other incidents.

“We are sorry that performance was not good during the survey period as we know that our passengers quite rightly want a reliable, punctual service.”

Following the results, SWR added that it was working with Network Rail to improve the response to incidents and their prevention while working on making trains reliable.