Commuters `severely' overcrowded

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Many train services into London on the private rail network are suffering from "severe" overcrowding, according to figures obtained by rail campaigners.

The breakdown of the passenger counts show that passengers on South West Trains "inner loop" in the morning rush hour exceed the limits imposed by John O'Brien, the Rail Franchising Director. Also in the firing line are the Connex South Central "outer services" from Dorset to Sussex. "It is a disgrace that the Franchise Director has let these companies off the hook," said Jonathan Bray, spokesman for the pressure group, Save Our Railways. A spokesman for the director said that train companies could only be "fined" for overcrowding if all services were considered, not just a portion. Connex South Central said: "We don't acknowledge a problem with overcrowding and have no evidence to support it." Randeep Ramesh