Rail passengers lost around four million hours to delayed trains last year, according to new research.
Eighty trains a day were “significantly delayed” – by at least 29 minutes – in 2018, Which? claimed in its latest findings.
This amounted to 3.9 million hours of delays affecting 8.1 million passenger journeys in total.
A further 660 services a day were cancelled – the highest number of cancellations since comparable records began in 2011.
London North Eastern Railway and predecessor Virgin Trains East Coast had the highest rate of significantly delayed trains in 2018 (5 per cent).
Consumer champion Which? based its analysis on data from the Office of Rail and Road, and called the number of delayed trains “staggering”.
Rail services were badly affected last year by the disastrous change in timetables in May, strikes, extreme weather and signalling failures.
Which? said that 36 per cent of passengers never claim the compensation they’re owed and called for making compensation payouts automatic.
“Passengers have faced a torrid time on the trains since the beginning of last year where the rail industry has fundamentally failed on punctuality and reliability,” said Which?’s head of campaigns, Neena Bhati.
“People then face a messy and complex compensation system which puts them off claiming when things go wrong.
“A vital way the Government’s Rail Review and industry can start to restore faith is by introducing automatic compensation for delays and cancellations so that passengers don’t have to fight to get the money they are owed.”
Robert Nisbet, regional director of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We know that services on some routes weren’t good enough last year and rail companies are working together to improve punctuality and tackle delays across the country.
“Train companies want to make it simple and easy for customers to claim compensation if they’ve experienced a delay.
“Half of the franchises managed by the Department for Transport pay compensation after 15 minutes and some operators have introduced automatic refunds, helping claims to increase by 80% over the last two years.”