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Britain’s most crowded train

with 4 comments

Today (10 September 2014) the Department for Transport announced Britain’s “ten most overcrowded peak train services for the spring and autumn periods of 2013”, triggering another emanation of nonsense from rail minister Claire Perry, and Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh.

[“Britain’s most crowded train revealed”, Nick Collins, Daily Telegraph, 10 Sep 2014]

The 16.46 from London Euston to Crewe is Britain’s most crowded train, with more people forced to stand than are able to get seats, official figures have shown.

“Is”? The figures are from spring and autumn of 2013.

[Daily Telegraph]

Claire Perry, the Transport Minister, said: “Since 1995 passenger journeys on the railway have more than doubled, with 1.6 billion journeys being recorded in the last year.

“This means that on too many journeys, passengers have to stand in cramped conditions. Train operators must act now, they must find new ways to create space on the network and in their trains.”

How is it the responsibility of train operators “to find new ways to create space on the network and in their trains”?

[Labour press statement: “Commuter misery map shows the reality under David Cameron”]

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the publication of the publication of the ten most overcrowded peak train services by the Department for Transport, said:

[…] “The Government’s West Coast franchise fiasco has delayed investment in new carriages on the Great Western line, where some first class seats have been reclassified as standard seats in a desperate attempt at patch and mend. […]

Reclassifying unused first class seats is “patch and mend”?

Claire Perry MP tweet

[Claire Perry MP, Twitter]

We now have real info on where more trains or capacity are needed and are spending £40 billion by 2019 to help deliver it

1. “We” don’t have any more “real info on where more trains or capacity are needed” than we did last week, or last year. The Department for Transport does not hold information on the capacity utilisation, or capacity potential, of rail lines (DfT freedom of information response, 2014).

2. Network Rail are not spending “£40 billion” on new capacity in the period to 2019. Most of the money is allocated to maintenance and renewals.

Written by beleben

September 10, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Politics, Railways

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4 Responses

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  1. What the latest DfT overcrowding statistics confirm are several factors which the Government chooses to ignore:
    * Virgin and East Coast trains are the least overcrowded judged by the number of standing passengers in the morning three hour peak.
    * More than 120,000 rail passengers have to stand on trains into London during this three hour period each weekday, which amounts to 20% of London bound rail passengers at that time.
    * The five worst stations for trains carrying standing passengers serve destinations which are largely to the south and east of London.
    * More than 50% of rail travellers are commuters.
    * There has been a significant increase in the number of standing passengers at Manchester (on commuter trains).

    It demonstrates yet again that the intercity HS2 will not address our overcrowded train issues.


    September 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

    • As you say, the real capacity problems are largely to the south and east of London. I would suggest that Great Western capacity is a phantom problem, caused by the decision to hand Heathrow Airport the right to run on the Fast lines into Paddington.

      Rolling stock lease costs are behind a lot of the standing in the North of England. Each additional carriage is £100,000 a year, or thereabouts.


      September 11, 2014 at 10:16 am

  2. SWT has a problem – 12 coach trains and little space for any extra paths. The other operators need more coaches or extra services using spare paths.


    September 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    • The South West Trains corridor could certainly do with some of the £50 billion which has been misallocated to HS2.

      Extract from 'London 2050' transport supporting paper


      September 11, 2014 at 7:46 pm

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