Almost half of Southern trains arrived late this year according to new figures.
Network Rail data shows just 56.9 per cent of trains arrived early or within 59 seconds of schedule, making the franchise one of the worst performing in the country.
Other operators in Sussex fared little better with Southeastern getting only 65.8 per cent of trains to the station on time and First Capital Connect with 71.7 per cent.
Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: “Passengers tell us that punctual trains are what they want most from the railway and Southern’s performance has not been good enough.
“It is essential that Southern and Network Rail deliver sustainable improvements, so that passengers have a train service that they can depend on.”
The figures look at the time trains arrive into every station.
Figures focusing solely on whether services arrived at their final destination on time were higher, with 87.7 per cent of Southern services arriving on time.
The companies defended themselves, saying comparing different franchises was like comparing apples and oranges, because some train services ran few stops on their services.
Southern admitted its performance had been disappointing, but blamed major incidents for significantly affecting the figures, including a landslip between Horsham and Dorking, power supply problems on the Brighton Mainline and a broken rail near Victoria Station.
A spokesman for Southern, which runs 2,300 services a day and makes more than 24,000 stops at 179 stations, said: “Our performance over the last few months has been disappointing, and we are as frustrated as passengers with the service we and our colleagues at Network Rail have been providing, with repeated infrastructure failures and operating problems.”
A spokesman for First said despite ageing trains and challenging cross-London routes, the company was in the top half of the table.
The company blamed delays on a failed train at Blackfriars, a person being hit by a train and significant signal problems.
The Association of Train Operator Companies, which represents franchises, blamed heavy localised flooding for the poor figures.
Chief executive Michael Roberts said: “The figures make little allowance for variations in train running which sometimes happen for good reason – for example, where a service is held for two or three minutes to help passengers make their connection.”
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- 'My £40k Jaguar was stolen and police told me to investigate crime myself'
- Get together tribute to murdered MP
- Long waits continue for ambulance crews
- Autistic teenager cut above the rest
- Senior surgeons call for review of NHS bed capacity