A YORK-based train company has been rated the passengers’ favourite in a national survey of rail users.

Grand Central has topped the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) which is published each spring and autumn by passenger group Transport Focus.

The good news comes in the same week the company announced its return to service later this month after four months of being off the rails due to the coronavirus restrictions.

In the survey, Grand Central enjoyed an overall customer satisfaction score of 95 per cent.

The company, which is part of the Arriva group, also topped the Value for Money table with a passenger rating of 74 per cent. Travellers also reported a 95 per cent satisfaction rate with Grand Central’s punctuality, and strongly improved scores for on board aspects of the journey following a £9m refurbishment programme.

Grand Central launched its first service 13 years ago between Sunderland and London Kings Cross, and added Bradford to London services ten years ago.

Managing director Richard McClean said: “It’s been a memorable week for us, to say the least.

“These have been a tough few months so to have our passengers rate us best in Britain is a massive boost for morale amongst our team, many of whom remain on temporary furlough as we gradually return to service.

“We’ve always enjoyed a strong endorsement from our customers in the NRPS. To be rated best overall operator in the country again is validation of our customer care and the work of our team. It also shows that giving passengers a choice of operator drives up overall satisfaction and value for money.”

Mr McClean added: “Operating under an Open Access business model means we rely on ticket sales and customer footfall like most airlines, hotels and retailers. The COVID-19 travel restrictions meant it simply wasn’t possible to viably run services, so we took the difficult but necessary decision to sit out the worst of the restrictions.

“Today’s results provide a great confidence boost and tell us we were getting the important things right for our customers. When we start running trains again on July 26th we’re committed to getting those basics right. We want staff and customers to feel confident about their journey and we will offer great value tickets and a warm welcome as usual.

“We’ve listened to what our passengers said and we want their first journey back with us to be a memorable one.”