Revealed: the most cancelled train service in the UK

Passengers dubbed the 7.13am Harrogate to Leeds service the 'unicorn train' and said it 'might as well not exist'. (PA)

A commuter service between Harrogate and Leeds is the UK’s most cancelled train service, according to analysis.

The 7:13am Northern Rail service was cancelled 28 times between 15 December, when a new timetable was introduced, and 22 February, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times using figures from OnTimeTrains.

This means it failed to run on more than half of the 55 days it was scheduled to run on.

In total, Northern cancelled more than 5,700 services during the period – more than any other operator.

Frustrated commuters on the service on Monday spoke of their daily travel frustration, dubbing the 7:13am service the “unicorn train” and saying it “might as well not exist”.

The 7:13am service was cancelled 28 times between 15 December and 22 February. (Getty)

They said the later trains they are forced to board are often crammed, with many people left standing for the entire 17-mile journey.

They also claim Northern Rail representatives have repeatedly said the cancellations are due to unusual repairs to faulty trains.

Jonathan Blockley, 33, a software engineer in Leeds, takes the train each morning to work and spends £60 a month on tickets.

He said it was “not surprising at all” that the service was the most cancelled in the country.

Read more: Northern Rail nationalised as government admits privatisation 'struggling to deliver’

Blockley, from Horsforth, said: “It’s literally cancelled all the time. This year it’s been terrible, there was even a week where it just didn’t show up.”

He regularly gets into work earlier than necessary to avoid the unreliable 7:13 service.

“It’s a bit of a running joke here whether the train will come or not,” he said.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said it was 'no surprise' that passengers have lost trust in the north's beleaguered rail network. (AP)

Elies van Sliedregt, a law professor at the University of Leeds who takes the service from Harrogate each morning, has slammed it for its costs relative to its “poor” service.

Van Sliedregt, from the Hague, Netherlands, said: “With how much the trains cost it’s incredible how poor the service is. I’m not surprised or shocked it’s the most cancelled service, because I barely ever see it.

“The train service is like something out of the 1950s.”

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Another commuter, who spends £160 a month on train fares, was surprised to get on the train on Monday morning as he always assumes the service will be cancelled.

John Hirst, 37, a software developer from Harrogate, said: “It's not surprising at all this is the most cancelled service in the UK. I call it the unicorn train because it doesn’t exist.”

Arriva Rail North, the operating company’s name, was stripped of its franchise on 1 March because of delays and poor performance.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said it was “no surprise” that passengers have lost trust in the north's beleaguered rail network.

"People across the north deserve better, their communities deserve better and I am determined to achieve that,” he said.

Yahoo News UK has contacted Northern Rail for comment.