Rail companies have been accused of “failing miserably” to help families with young children travel by train, according to a new report.
Only five operators in Britain scored more than two out of eight points in the campaign analysis for family-friendly trains.
It comes after 13 businesses were assessed on factors including availability of dedicated space for unfolded pushchairs, step-free access, changing tables and information for families.
The report concluded: “Overall, UK rail operating companies are failing miserably to support families with young children.”
The lowest totals were awarded to Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Grand Central and ScotRail, with one point each.
TfL Rail, which will be renamed the Elizabeth Line from May 24, had the highest score with 3.5 points.
Ten operators, including Great Western Railway, Northern and TransPennine Express, did not respond to requests for information, which the Campaign for Family Friendly Trains says shows they are “little concerned about the issues”.
The group wants trains to have spaces for unfolded pushchairs to help passengers traveling with young children.
He says uncertainty about the availability of these seats is “frequently cited by parents as a barrier to train travel“.
No operator has a space dedicated to unfolded pushchairs.
Campaigners also want rail companies to make it easier for passengers to get on and off and get relevant information for families.
Alice Delemare Tangpuori, spokeswoman for the group, said the results “won’t surprise” many parents who have traveled with young children on trains.
“Family-friendly trains must be a priority”
She said the railways should “be open to all” and that it is “unacceptable that a large contingent is effectively excluded”.
She continued: “We hope this annual scorecard will encourage train operating companies to continue to go the distance for families traveling on their services.
“As leisure and discretionary travel become more important to the railways, creating family-friendly trains must be a priority route to attracting more passengers.”
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Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, added that the industry wants “everyone can benefit from rail travel”.
She added: “We appreciate the feedback from the campaign for family-friendly trains and have frequent conversations with them and with government officials.
“We want to make the railway more accessible to everyone and we are thinking about the changes we could make in the short term to improve journeys for families.”