Lancaster train services among top 10 for overcrowding

Lancaster Railway Station.
Lancaster Railway Station.
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Two trains which travel through Lancaster have been listed among the top 10 overcrowded trains in a new survey.

The 04:22 TransPennine Express service from Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport was the third most overcrowded train in the UK, according to latest figures (from autumn 2015), while the 16:00 TransPennine Express Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley was listed fourth.

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “These statistics reveal the unprecedented scale of passenger demand, with journeys doubling in the past 20 years.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: “We understand passengers’ frustration when they can’t get a seat and we as an industry are working hard together to tackle overcrowding.

“Over the past 20 years, record numbers of passengers have been attracted to the railway, which is why we are introducing thousands of new and modern carriages.”

A spokesman for Transpennine Express said: “We recognise that our services, particularly at peak times, can be very busy and we will be introducing extra capacity across our network.

“We have committed to delivering over £500m of investment in the next three years including the introduction of 220 brand new carriages which will provide 13m more seats a year for customers. This will lead to an 80 per cent rise in seats at the busiest times of day.”

Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner for Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Rail passengers are paying record amounts for their tickets and it’s not acceptable that so many regularly have to stand.

“They have every right to be outraged at the levels of overcrowding – levels which have persisted on some routes for many years.

“In the next few years, revenue from tickets will exceed the cost of running the railways.

“The millions who rely on the trains want a commitment from the government that there will be long term investment in rail capacity.

“This mustn’t just mean big ticket projects like HS2 and Crossrail 2, but better services right across the country.

“Train companies and government need to prioritise investing in new rolling stock, and investing in infrastructure like longer platforms, so that longer carriages and more frequent trains can be rolled out onto the network.

“We also need to reduce the pressure on rush hour services, which are often the busiest.

“The government must honour its promise to introduce season ticket discounts for part time workers to help tackle overcrowding, and make rail travel more affordable too.”

Mick Cash, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: ‘’These figures show that our rail services are dangerously overcrowded due to a chronic failure to plan capacity.

“To be cutting back on train and station staffing against this background is a lethal gamble with passenger safety.”