News story

Train operators urged to tackle overcrowding

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Train companies are challenged to do more to help meet the capacity challenge on the rail network in England and Wales.

Transport Minister Claire Perry challenged the rail industry today (10 September 2014) to find new ways to give commuters more seats on busy trains following publication of the latest crowding statistics.

Claire Perry 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.

We are investing more than £38 billion in our railway delivering more trains, more seats and more services and we are pushing ahead with plans for a national high speed rail network that will help solve the problem in the long term. I understand the frustration of rail passengers forced to stand on busy services and that is why I am calling on the operators to do more.

Today’s figures show the extent of crowding in England and Wales across the network. While the level of overall crowding has stayed much the same as the year before, the situation has worsened in some cities where there has been growth in passenger numbers. The top 10 lists of crowded trains issued alongside the statistics give a snapshot of train overcrowding showing the busiest services in England and Wales during spring and autumn last year.

The ‘top 10’ for spring 2013

1. 16:46 service from London Euston to Crewe: load factor 201%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

London Midland recognise that while the formation of this train may not have been the maximum allowed by the route, it was the maximum allowed at that time for the combination of the train path and the rolling stock available to them. The train has been formed of 8 cars since the start of the December 2013 timetable, the earliest point at which this was possible, reducing the load factor significantly.

2. 07:33 service from Bedford to Brighton: load factor 171%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

This is now a 12 car rather than an 8 car train. First Capital Connect introduced additional carriages in line with the December 2011 HLOS initiative.

3. 07:00 service from Oxford to London Paddington: load factor 168%

Capacity includes seats and a standing allowance. Service has first class.

First Great Western has recognised this service is crowded and has enhanced the capacity by changing the formation to a 165 3-car with 270 standard class seats.

4. 07:44 service from Henley-on-Thames to London Paddington: load factor 161%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

First Great Western has recognised this service is crowded and it had already been strengthened from 3-cars to 4-cars before these counts were produced.

5. 07:21 service from Oxford to London Paddington: load factor 156%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

First Great Western has recognised this service is crowded and has enhanced the capacity by changing the formation to a 165 3-car with an additional 28 standard class seats

6. 07:32 service from Woking to London Waterloo: load factor 154%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class. This train and those adjacent to it are operating to maximum formation on this route.

The South West Trains and Network Rail Alliance, with the Department for Transport, have developed plans for increasing capacity on the routes into London Waterloo during the peak periods, in addition to that currently being introduced under the HLOS programme.

7. 18:13 service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street: load factor 152%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at its maximum length.

From the start of the December 2014 timetable this service is being replaced by a pair of new trains under the Project 110 Peak scheme, thus providing additional seats in this time slot to help relieve the crowding present. The Project 110 Peak scheme is the main forthcoming London Midland scheme for tackling overcrowding during both the morning and evening London Peaks.

8. 07:02 service from Woking to London Waterloo: load factor 151%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class. This train and those adjacent to it are operating to maximum formation on this route.

The South West Trains and Network Rail Alliance, with the Department for Transport, have developed plans for increasing capacity on the routes into London Waterloo during the peak periods, in addition to that currently being introduced under the HLOS programme.

9. 06:35 service from Caterham to London Victoria: load factor 149%

Capacity includes seats and a standing allowance. Service does not have first class.

Southern introduced this train at the December 2011 timetable change in addition to the trains that are contracted to run. This was part of an initiative to using their trains more efficiently to get an extra trip and to plug what was previously a half hour interval between fast East Croydon to Victoria trains. This train primarily serves the fast East Croydon to Clapham Junction and London Victoria market. Currently there are no more carriages available to lengthen this train or to run any additional trains between East Croydon and London Victoria unless they were taken from other trains, but that would cause even worse crowding elsewhere.

10. 17:46 service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street: load factor 148%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and the train is at its maximum length.

Going forward, London Midland has taken delivery of 10 new 4-car trains, of which 7 will be utilised on the West Coast Main Line and 3 for the West Midlands. This will increase peak capacity by approximately 2,500 seats per day.

The ‘top 10’ for Autumn 2013

1. 16:46 service from London Euston to Crewe: load factor 211%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

London Midland recognise that while the formation of this train may not have been the maximum allowed by the route, it was the maximum allowed at that time for the combination of the train path and the rolling stock available to them. The train has been formed of 8 cars since the start of the December 2013 timetable, the earliest point at which this was possible, reducing the load factor significantly.

2. 07:32 service from Woking to London Waterloo: load factor 173%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class. This train and those adjacent to it are operating to maximum formation on this route.

The South West Trains and Network Rail Alliance, with the Department for Transport, have developed plans for increasing capacity on the routes into London Waterloo during the peak periods, in addition to that currently being introduced under the HLOS programme.

3. 07:21 service from Oxford to London Paddington: load factor 173%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

First Great Western has recognised this service is crowded and has enhanced the capacity by changing the formation to a class 165 3-car train with an additional 28 standard class seats

4. 18:33 service from London Paddington to Heathrow Airport: load factor 169%

Capacity includes seats and a standing allowance. Service does not have first class and train is at maximum length.

5. 06:30 service from Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough: load factor 166%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

First TransPennine Express have mitigated some of the challenges of crowding by the introduction of the May 2014 timetable, which introduced a fifth train per hour in each direction across the Pennines. The new fifth train per hour helps out in relieving constrained capacity by reducing the gap in frequency of services.

6. 18:13 service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street: load factor 164%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

From the start of the December 2014 timetable this service is being replaced by a pair of new trains under the Project 110 Peak scheme, thus providing additional seats in this time slot to help relieve the crowding present. The Project 110 Peak scheme is the main forthcoming London Midland scheme for tackling overcrowding during both the morning and evening London Peaks.

7. 06:07 service from Banbury to London Paddington: load factor 157%

Capacity includes seats and a standing allowance. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

First Great Western has added 16 extra standard class seats to all its 3-car Class 166 turbo trains by declassifying half of first class. This coupled (ie 6-car) service now has an extra 32 standard class seats.

8. 06:30 service from Scarborough to Manchester Airport : load factor 156%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

First TransPennine Express have mitigated some of the challenges of crowding by the introduction of the May 2014 timetable, which introduced a fifth train per hour in each direction across the Pennines. The new fifth train per hour helps out in relieving constrained capacity by reducing the gap in frequency of services.

9. 06:28 service from Nottingham to St Pancras: load factor 155%

Service operated by East Midland Trains and capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

10. 07:00 service from Oxford to London Paddington: load factor 153%

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

First Great Western has recognised this service is crowded and has enhanced the capacity by changing the formation to a class 165 3-car with 270 standard class seats.

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