First Great Western, the train company I use to commute to work, has come last among UK train companies for passenger satisfaction. While most of the time it’s fine for me, I suspect that the fact that I travel against the main commuting tide (into the city each morning, out each evening) helps. When we pass trains going the other way they do look a lot more crowded. I think it also helps that I can check the London travel news each morning before I leave for work; if there are severe delays reported on FGW I can often choose to work from home that day.
It is true that while ticket prices have increased without fail each year, the only signs of infrastructure or service improvement I’ve ever seen are new ticket machines at Ealing Broadway. Not that they’ve always been a big step forward, either.