Just one third (33%) of commuters are satisfied with the value for money of their train journey, new figures show.
This is mainly due to continued weak performance, watchdog Transport Focus said.
Only three out of 10 are satisfied with how train companies deal with delays, and 57% are content with the level of crowding.
Some 27,000 passengers were surveyed by Transport Focus in autumn 2017, meaning the responses do not take into account the 3.4% average fare rise on January 2.
This was the largest increase in five years.
The research found that four out of five (81%) of all travellers are satisfied with their journey, unchanged from the previous autumn.
Southern was the lowest-ranked operator with a score of 72%, although this is up seven percentage points from a year earlier.
South Western Railway (SWR) suffered the largest year-on-year decline in satisfaction, from 83% to 75%.
Performance on SWR routes has struggled to recover since major disruption caused by the upgrade at London Waterloo during the summer.
Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "For passengers it's all about performance. These value for money scores reflect patchy reliability.
"In London and the South East, Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern passengers have felt performance pick up.
"However, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Arriva Trains Wales passengers, among others, have been buffeted by poorer performance.
"Train companies and Network Rail need to keep to their basic promises and deliver a relentless focus on day-to-day performance and better information during disruption."
Grand Central topped the satisfaction table at 96%, followed by Hull Trains (95%) and Virgin Trains East Coast (92%).
Jacqueline Starr, a managing director at the Rail Delivery Group, representing operators and Network Rail, said: "Four out of five journeys were rated satisfactory or good by our customers but we know there is much more to do, which is why rail companies are working together with a long term plan to change and improve."