Investment call as London tops rail overcrowding figures


The average level of rail overcrowding in the morning peak is now at 5% over capacity in major cities in England and Wales, new figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) have revealed.

DfT officials said the number of passengers on national rail services continued to rise between 2014 and 2015 and had a direct impact on levels of train ‘crowding’.

A busy Waterloo station

Nationally, overcrowding – or passengers in excess of capacity (PiXC) – at major cities rose by 0.4 percentage points to 5% for the morning peak and by 0.2 percentage points to 2.4% during the afternoon peak.

London had the highest morning peak overcrowding at 5.8% PiXC, followed by Manchester at 3.7% PiXC and Birmingham at 2.4% PiXC.

The station with the highest overcrowding was London Blackfriars, with 14.7% PiXC after a 4.1 percentage point rise on the following year.

On average, 581,400 passengers arrived in London during the morning peak in 2015, an increase of 3.2% on the previous year. Birmingham was the city with the next highest arrivals figure at 42,900.

Passengers arriving during the morning peak accounted for 55% of all daily arrivals into London.

Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport called for long-term investment in rail capacity and for the Government to honour its promise to introduce season ticket discounts for part-time workers to reduce pressure on rush hour services.

She 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.

‘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.’

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