London

London rail services make up six of top ten most overcrowded

Busy commuters travel through Waterloo station Image copyright Getty Images

Rail services into and out of London made up six of the top 10 most overcrowded services in England and Wales last year, official figures show.

The Department for Transport (DfT) figures cover arrivals into 11 major cities during weekday peak times.

The figures show the Govia Thameslink service between Bedford and Brighton was the most crowded in 2015.

On a typical autumn weekday, 581,400 passengers arrived into London during the morning peak, up 3.2% since 2014.

Manchester made up the remainder of the 10 most overcrowded trains, with three of the top four services calling at the city's Oxford Road station.

Birmingham, which had the second largest number of commuters last year, saw 42,900 passengers arriving each day, the DfT said.

Crowding levels at major cities across the UK rose by 0.4% in the morning peak last year.

Overall the top 10 most overcrowded services in autumn 2015 were between 61% and 129% over capacity.

London Blackfriars saw the largest increase in overcrowded trains passing through the station compared with all other railway stations in the capital.

Between 2014 and 2015 during the morning rush hour it saw a 4.1% rise in overcrowded trains travelling through the station.

Overcrowding at Blackfriars - defined as passengers in excess of capacity - rose to 14.7% of all rail services passing through the station last year.

South West trains into London Waterloo and Great Western trains into London Paddington also made the top 10 most crowded rail services.

The most overcrowded train in England and Wales last autumn was the 07:00 Govia Thameslink rail service from Brighton to Bedford with capacity for 420 passengers but which regularly carries 933 passengers - 513 (122%) more passengers than the train was built to hold.

The train's most crowded point came at 08:20 at Blackfriars station.

The second most crowded train into London was the 07:34 Great Western service from Didcot in Oxfordshire to Paddington, which has a capacity for 242 passengers but regularly carried 484 - 242 (100%) more passengers than its designed capacity.

The DfT said: "The worsening crowding levels show that capacity provision is not coping with rising levels of passenger demand, which has been the case in London and a number of other cities."

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: "These statistics reveal the unprecedented scale of passenger demand with journeys doubling in the past 20 years. We are investing a record £40bn into the network to address this, delivering 3,700 extra carriages by 2019 and providing a huge boost to capacity through programmes like HS2, Crossrail, and the £6.5bn Thameslink programme.

David Sidebottom, passenger director of Transport Focus, said: "Overcrowding is a daily struggle for many commuters. Our latest rail passenger survey found that only 52% of commuters were satisfied with the amount of room they had to sit or stand on the train.

"In the long term we need a big increase in capacity. This means continued investment in new and longer trains to meet existing demand, as well as ensuring that overcrowding doesn't get worse as passenger numbers continue to increase."

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