Overcrowding forces thousands to stand on peak-time trains into east London

PUBLISHED: 16:00 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:16 26 July 2018

Commuters queue outside a train station during a rail strike. Picture: Ken Mears

Commuters queue outside a train station during a rail strike. Picture: Ken Mears


Overcrowded trains force nearly 35,000 commuters to stand on the morning rush while travelling into east London.

Overcrowded trains force nearly 35,000 commuters to stand on the morning rush while travelling into east London.

Department for Transport figures released Tuesday show 34,904 people each day cannot get seats on trains into Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street.

Nearly one in three passengers (31 per cent) had to stand en route to Fenchurch Street, representing 11,971 people. The station in the City of London closely followed nearby Blackfriars, which was the capital’s most overcrowded terminus with 36pc standing.

In Liverpool Street, a fifth (22pc) of the station’s 22,933 commuters stand.

According to the data, 148,447 people brave armpits in the face, rucksacks digging into their side and close contact with strangers on peak-time trains into London between 7am and 9.59am.

The figures reveal overcrowding on trains into Liverpool Street at its highest level for seven years.

Fenchurch Street services, meanwhile, recorded higher levels of overcrowding only once over the period, with 34pc standing during a typical morning rush in 2016.

London made up nine of the 10 busiest train services into major cities in England and Wales in spring last year, the data reveal.

The most crowded train, an early hours Southern rail service into London Bridge, ran at a whopping 250pc overcapacity.

Here, 267 passengers squeeze into two carriages designed for 107 people.

Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern services — all part of the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise — accounted for half of England and Wales’ busiest peak-time services for spring and autumn 2017.

“While rail passenger demand is highest in London, the city also has more train services compared to other cities,” according to the Department for Transport.

“Crowding levels reflect times when capacity provision has not met the level of passenger demand, and varies by route and time of day.

“Although variations in crowding levels can seem small across cities and over time, the actual numbers of passengers affected by crowding can be large. In London, where passenger numbers are in the hundreds of thousands over the peak periods, a small rise in crowding levels can translate to a large number of passengers experiencing crowded conditions overall.”

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