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Most overcrowded services revealed as passenger numbers plummet

The most overcrowded train services in England and Wales have been revealed by the DfT today.

Services running to and from London were by far the most crowded in the country: nine out of 10 of the most overcrowded services in spring 2017 were services running through the capital.

The most overcrowded peak train service in spring last year was the 05:40 Uckfield to London Bridge service ran by Southern. It reached the highest number of passengers in excess of its capacity at 07:00 with 267 on the service at London Bridge — with a massive 160 passengers over the capacity of the two carriages designed to hold just 107 people.

Other notable overcrowded services in spring included the 17:11 Sutton to Luton service ran by Thameslink services. It reached the third highest number of passengers in excess of capacity at London St Pancras where a whopping 1,579 passengers were on the eight-carriage, 803-capacity service. This is almost 100% over the standard user capacity for the GTR line.

In Autumn, Manchester took the crown for the top two overcrowded services with the Glasgow to Manchester Airport service reaching the highest critical load point at Manchester Oxford Road at 08:24 — with just four carriages on the service, 212 passengers were in excess of the cars’ capacity.

The Manchester Airport to Edinburgh line was the second most-packed carriage in autumn 2017 with 387 passengers in the carriages at Manchester Oxford Road at 16:19, 196 passengers over the standard train capacity. TransPennine Express ran both services.

GTR features prominently in the overcrowding stats: of the 20 most-overcrowded services between spring and autumn collectively, half of the services provided were ran by GTR. Overcrowded trains, cancellations, and delays to services were amongst the reasons GTR’s passenger numbers fell following statistics in June.

Passenger numbers in major cities fall

Users of rail networks in several major cities across England have fallen.

Passengers of services to Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Cardiff have suffered the largest decline, with many citing chaotic delays and cancellations as a number of reasons for no longer frequently using rail network.

Users of services to and from Leeds plummeted; there were almost one in 10 less users of services of AM peak arrivals to the Yorkshire city in Autumn 2017 compared to the previous year.

Liverpool’s numbers have also fallen, with 4.3% fewer users of the services compared to the year before.

Passenger satisfaction surveys, conducted by Transport Focus, found that only 72% of commuters — those who use the rail service more than any other group — were satisfied with their service. This marks a fall from 80% satisfaction in Autumn 2012.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, chair of the Transport Select Committee Lilian Greenwood blasted the DfT for failing to fulfil promises made to passengers to improve services following a chaotic new timetable introduction to the rail networks on 20 May.

She noted that as the figures are from August 2017 and passenger satisfaction may have fallen even further since the national disruption over the last three months, even fewer passengers will be using railways, which can have detrimental impacts to the wider environment.

She said: “Fewer people are choosing to travel by train, which means more cars are coming into our cities, leading to more congestion and harmful emissions being created.

“The May timetables and emergency timetables since were supposed to make services for passengers better but they’ve made them worse. The May timetable is absolute chaos — we will be making recommendations to the DfT and the government about the best way to go forward from here.”

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Image credit: Yui Mok PA Images


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