A survey has found that UK rail companies are failing to resolve customer complaints, with more than half of passengers found to be dissatisfied with the response.

The survey was conducted by consumer group Which? and assessed Office of Rail and Road (ORR) data on satisfaction with complaint-handling between April 2017 and March 2018.

During the period, more than 500,000 complaints were registered against rail services.

More than half of the complainants were unhappy with how the rail companies dealt with their grievances.

The performance of rail operators Northern, Govia Thameslink and Great Western Railway were found to be the worst among all.

The analysis was carried out on the overall process from the ease of making the complaint to their settlement.

“Around 71% of passengers were negative about the way complaints were handled by the rail companies.”

Around 71% of passengers were negative about the way complaints were handled by the rail companies.

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Nearly half opined that their complaints were not taken seriously by operating companies.

The Which? report says that a significant number of rail companies were rated poorly by the passengers on the scale of politeness in dealing with the complaints.

Northern has the lowest satisfaction rate with 46% of the passengers rating the company favourably, while Chiltern Railways was found to top the list with 76%.

Which? managing director of public markets Alex Hayman said: “Clearly there are serious underlying problems in the current rail complaints system, which need to be addressed.

“Train companies have to step up and start delivering good customer service when things go wrong, informing passengers about their rights and dealing properly with any complaints that arise.”

The analysis corroborates the appointment of an ombudsman by the rail industry where the passengers can escalate their unresolved complaints. The independent ombudsman is expected to be appointed by the end of this year.