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Martin Lewis slams railway company over standing room only train ‘with one working toilet’

The money-saving expert described passengers ‘crawling over each other’ to reach the toilet

Lydia Patrick
Tuesday 20 February 2024 05:05 GMT
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Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis (PA Archive)

Martin Lewis has hit out at East Midlands Railway, after he says he was stuck on a standing-room-only service between London and Sheffield with one working toilet.

The money-saving expert tweeted his dissatisfaction from the train carriage on Monday, and soon received a flurry of responses from people sharing similarly negative experiences of overcrowded trains.

At 2.27pm, he wrote: “Dear @EastMidRailway this train (Ldn - Sheffield) is disgraceful. Every seat taken, every standing space taken, scores sitting in mid train corridors so I guess 500 people on it and ONLY ONE WORKING TOILET at one end, so people must crawl over each 100s to reach it.

“It’s degrading, like something from the 19th century. PS and as I walked to the loo, apologising profusely, a number of people asked me to say something publicly about it. One of the reasons for this tweet.”

He later added: “PS it seems I may owe an apology to the 19th century - many saying trains then were efficient, on time, and luxury.”

The EMR service from London St Pancras to Sheffield takes two hours and 15 minutes, with a standard return journey during commuting hours costing around £170.

Gary Holman from Northumberland was among those sharing similar experiences in the replies.

“I have mobility issues and now I cannot drive. Recently I bought a senior railcard with view of travelling from north Northumberland to South Somerset,” he wrote. “The issues you have highlighted fill me with dread. I cannot stand for very long and unfettered access to a loo is an absolute must. I’m thinking of gritting my teeth and going first class - assuming that does what it says on the tin!”

Passenger Mike Andrews added he shared the same experience as Mr Lewis both ways on Saturday.

Vickster51 said: “I’ve given up on EMR and now mainly travel from London to Sheffield on the coach. It takes longer, but is cheaper, has a toilet, everyone has a seat, it’s comfortable and you don’t have to worry about someone else taking your luggage.”

A father of two complained of an uncomfortable journey on the service accompanied by his wife and two children, aged eight and five.

David Still said: “I was on this yesterday with wife and two children (aged 8 and aged 5) and forced to sit on floor next to door and the toilet.

“I had paid and reserved seating too. Also advised at ticket office I would get seated...which didn’t happen.”

The railway firm has apologised to customers who faced over crowding and said essential work on the route had affected services this week.

An East Midlands Railway spokesperson said: “Vital infrastructure upgrades are taking place on the East Coast Mainline and affecting LNER services until Wednesday. Some customers have chosen to travel via EMR services rather than using the planned alternative route.

“We have added additional capacity where possible and increased the number of staff to help manage this situation, however intercity services from London are uncomfortably busy and a queuing system is in place at St Pancras.

“We would like to apologise to any customers who could not catch their intended service and for the level of overcrowding they are experiencing.”

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