For some workers, nothing is worse than the morning commute. The dragging grind as you go from station to station in a packed metal tube, surrounded by people just as tired as yourself, everyone eager to reach work and make that much needed second morning coffee.
Of course, that’s assuming your train arrives on time or turns up at all. While the UK might have one of the biggest and most complex rail networks in Europe, it’s by no means the most efficient. Not a day goes by where at least one train isn’t delayed: and if you’re in London, it’s more like four or five minimum.
But which UK train station is the worst station for commuter delays? We put our team to the task of discovering this, listing the top stations you should aim to avoid (if possible) during your daily commute.
Using the data available on ontimetrains.co.uk and the government’s statistics for station usage, we were able to work out the busiest stations in the UK, the percentage of trains delayed during peak hours, and the percentage of trains cancelled, for 2019-2020. We then ranked all stations from best to worst based on the data.
With all the data analysed, here are the worst stations to commute from in the UK.
Revealed: the UK’s WORST train station for delays
Unsurprisingly, the worst UK station for delays and cancellations is in London. If you want a quick commute, you should aim to avoid using City Thameslink at all costs. On average, an absolutely staggering 66% of all trains that pass through City Thameslink are delayed between 7am and 9am, with 67% being delayed between 4pm and 6pm.
Fortunately, while its cancellation rates are above average, they’re not overly egregious at 4.5% for both peak times. Still, few other stations on our list compared to such levels of delay, making it somewhat of a miracle that any of the City Thameslink’s 8 million daily users arrive at work on time.
Other UK stations workers should avoid on the daily commute
Of course, while City Thameslink might be the worst offender for delays, it is by no means the only station guilty of poor train services. Willesden Junction sits in the ignominious second spot with 37.5% and 32% of the peak trains being delayed across the year. It’s not delays, however, that rank Willesden so low. Out of all trains that passed through Willesden Junction in 2019-2020, a full 6% were cancelled in the morning and a shocking 9.5% in the evening. This makes Willesden Junction potentially the worst station for cancellations out of all the stations we ranked.
For the third spot, we actually move out of London to Birmingham, specifically Snow Hill. Delays from Birmingham Snow Hill actually sit rather low compared to other stations at 22% and 38% respectively. However, much like Willesden, Birmingham Snow Hill is the other contender for worst UK station for train cancellations. While only 4.5% of trains are cancelled in the morning, 11% were cancelled between 4-6pm.
Interestingly, the number of commuters for the UK’s 3 worst stations for delays sits below 10 million for each. The fourth position, however, has over 25 million users. East Croydon saw 39.5% of its 7-9am trains delayed over the year, made worse by the delays experienced by 54.5% of its 4-6pm services. East Croydon’s only saving grace is that its cancellations sit at a relatively average 4%.
Lasty, we come to Coventry. Much like East Croydon, Coventry’s cancellation rates are relatively low, 2% and 4.5% for the year. Unfortunately, Coventry is an even worse suspect for train delays. 47.5% of morning commuters experienced delays across the year, but this is overshadowed by the horrendous 58.5% of delays occurring in the evening.
Of course, these are only the top five stations to avoid using on your morning commute. Plenty of other stations barely scraped above the top spots, including Birmingham Moor Street, Milton Keynes Central, St Albans City, Shepherd’s Bush, and Gatwick Airport. All these stations had between 20% and 45% of their trains delayed, as well as having a cancellation range of up to 8.5% over 2019-2020.
The UK’s best stations for commuting
So, if City Thameslink is the worst station for delays in the UK, which is the best? Well, given the fact that many of the worst stations for delays sit in and around the London area, you might be surprised to find out that London Fenchurch Street holds the number one position. Across the entire 2019-2020 year, only 5% of their morning and 11.5% of their evening commute trains were delayed. But even better than that, only 1% and 1.5% of their trains were actually cancelled across the year.
Other notable stations for good service include Ilford, London Liverpool Street, London Marylebone, and Romford, which just goes to show how wide an experience commuters receive in and around the capital.
Even though the daily commute can be frustrating, and delays can make you want to rush, you should always be safety aware when in a station or walking to work. For information and expertise on how to stay safe on your commute to work, you can head over to our blog.