Increasing overcrowding on rush hour train services saw one in five passengers coming into London forced to stand last year, while a rail line in the North West reached 86% overcapacity.
Latest figures from the Department for Transport reveal the 10 most overcrowded services across the country in 2014, with London featuring seven times but the North West taking the top two spots.
Around 139,000 passengers were standing at trains’ busiest points coming into London in the morning peak - 22% of all passengers - while 26% of morning peak trains were over capacity and in total 59% had passengers standing.
DfT table for Top 10 overcrowding
The most overcrowded service however was the 04:22 from Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport, which was 86% or 164 passengers in excess of overcapacity, while the 16:00 service from Manchester Airport to Edinburgh took second place.
Trains to Paddington – the 6.31am and 7.02am First Great Western services from Reading, and the 7.57am Heathrow Connect – took the next three places.
Overall, London had the highest peak-hour overcrowding with 4.1% of passengers in excess of capacity (PiXC), a rise of 1.4% on the previous year.
Across the other 10 major cities in the study the PiXC average was 1.4%.
Manchester had the largest PiXC measure of any city outside London with 3.3%, following a 1.7% increase over both peaks
Overall there was a 4.5% growth in passenger kilometres in 2014, the highest since 2011/12.
Michael Dugher MP, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said the figures proved the need for a complete overhaul of the rail system.
‘It is clear that the Government’s devotion to the status quo on our railways is just leaving hard-pressed passengers having to endure these ever worsening services,’ he said, adding ‘what we need is a complete overhaul, including ending the current flawed franchising system and ensuring that there is a real passenger voice within a more publicly controlled railways.’
Rail minister, Claire Perry, said: ‘I know how frustrated customers are with overcrowding and I expect the rail industry, including operators, to continue to develop innovative proposals to meet the capacity challenge head on.’
The figures present a snapshot of overcrowding, with manual counting used in some places. The standard capacity figure includes the number of standard class seats on the train and may also include a standing allowance depending on the distance of the journey and type of rolling stock.