UK's 10 worst most overcrowded train services: Routes filled to more than 200% of capacity, figures show

Govia Thameslink and the TransPennine Express services take up seven places in the top 10 most crowded trains

Jess Staufenberg
Friday 29 July 2016 11:25
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Crowds of commuters at rush hour in Paddington Station, which saw some of the most overbooked trains in the UK
Crowds of commuters at rush hour in Paddington Station, which saw some of the most overbooked trains in the UK

The 10 most overcrowded train services in the country have been identified, with all the worst routes serving either London or Manchester.

Passengers have been paying to travel in carriages filled to more than 220 per cent capacity, requiring them to stand or sit on the floor throughout the journey, according to newly released government figures for 2015.

Services were particularly overcrowded when passing through London's major stations, including London Blackfriars, Paddington and Waterloo during the commuter rush hour at about 8am.

But four Manchester lines also made a list, with TransPennine Express services in both the morning and early evening becoming most crowded at Oxford Road station.

The worst was the Govia Thameslink service from Brighton to Bedford when the train passes through London Blackfriars at about 8.20am, with an astonishing 513 more passengers onboard than the supposed "capacity".

The figures come as it emerged train companies have been hiding the cheapest ticket prices, thereby overcharging millions of unsuspecting passengers.

Since the figures are taken through one-off measurements of passengers on a particular weekday, and counted manually rather than digitally, the Department for Transport has warned that they must not be treated as true for every time a particular service runs.

The top 10 most overcrowded moments on services recorded last year were:

1. Govia Thameslink - 229% over capacity at 8.20am at London Blackfriars on the service from Brighton to Bedford.

2. TransPennine Express - 215%, 8.22am, Manchester Oxford Road, Glasgow Central-Manchester Airport service.

3. TransPennine Express - 196%, 4.19pm, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Airport-Edinburgh Waverley service.

4. TransPennine Express - 176%, 6.19pm, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Airport-Edinburgh Waverley service.

5. Govia Thameslink - 171%, 9.38am, London Elephant and Castle, Beckenham Junction-Bedford service.

6. London Midland - 166%, 5.46pm, London Euston, Euston-Crewe service.

7. South West Trains - 166%, 8.08am, London Waterloo, Southampton Airport Parkway-Waterloo service.

8. Govia Thameslink - 166%, 5.40pm, London Blackfriars, Bedford-Brighton service.

9. South West Trains - 163%, 8.08am, London Waterloo, Southampton Airport Parkway-Waterloo service.

10. TransPennine Express - 161%, 9.23am, Manchester Oxford Road, Edinburgh Waverley-Manchester Airport service.

Despite the levels of overcrowding, Govia Thameslink (GTR) announced a "reduced timetable" with hundreds of trains fewer a day on the Southern network this month, citing staff strikes and construction at London Bridge.

A spokesperson for GTR said in July: "We are having to cancel hundreds of trains per day because of a lack of train crew availability and a reluctance to work overtime.

"We've removed these trains because it allows passengers to plan better, rather than just turning up and hoping the train would run and on time."

The claims have been furiously disputed by the RMT transport union, whose members say GTR are trying to blame staff for long-standing poor performance by the company, while commuters in London and Brighton staged a number of protests at its overcrowded and delayed services.

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