Britain's most crowded rail service revealed: The 7.44 from Henley-on-Thames where carriages are 80% over capacity (and it still costs 3,388 for a season ticket)
Some trains are carrying up to 471 more passengers than designed to carryHenley to London services travelling at 80 per cent over capacity
01:37 GMT, 20 December 2012
If you are reading this squeezed uncomfortably into a packed commuter train, take heart – things could be worse.
Unless, that is, you are a regular on the 7.44am from Henley-on-Thames to Paddington, which was yesterday named the most overcrowded train in the country.
The First Great Western service carries nearly twice its passenger capacity and tops a league table of shame published by Transport Minister Norman Baker to highlight the top ten most overcrowded train services in England and Wales.
Graphic shows the worst train services in the UK in terms of how busy they are
TOP TEN BUSIEST TRAINS
Top ten according to data collected in autumn 2011.
The load factor figure is based on 100% being the normal capacity of the train
:1. FGW 7.44am Henley-on-Thames to London Paddington 180% overcrowding, 179 excess passengers
2. SWT 7.32am Woking to London Waterloo 164%, 471
3. LM 6.13pm London Euston to Birmingham New Street 162%, 431
4. LM 4.48pm Euston to Birmingham New Street 160%, 270
5. FGW 6:30am Banbury to Paddington 158%, 131
6. LM 7.55am Stourbridge Junction to Stratford-upon-Avon 157%, 203
7. FTP 6.23am Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough 155%, 91
8. NE 6.17pm London Liverpool Street to Shenfield 154%, 465
9. LM 7:14pm Alton to Waterloo 152%, 385
10. LM 5.46pm Euston to Birmingham New Street 152%*, 383
* Rounded-up figure but slightly lower than the ninth-placed Alton service.
The operator abbreviations are FGW – First Great Western; SWT – South West Trains; LM – London Midland; FTP – First TransPennine Express; NE – National Express East Anglia.
Some are packing in hundreds more passengers than they were designed to carry.
The 7.44am from the Oxfordshire town
into the capital has a ‘load factor’ of 180 per cent.
This means it was
at 80 per cent over capacity in standard-class carriages when the survey
was carried out during autumn 2011.
As a sting in the tail, passengers are paying through the nose for the
From January 2, Henley season ticket holders will see their
annual fare rise 4.18 per cent to 3,388.
However, First Great Western did recently add a carriage to the 7.44am, increasing the number of standard class seats to 340.
The second most crowded service was the South West Trains 7.32am service
from Woking in Surrey to Waterloo, which was 64 per cent over capacity.
It carried 471 more passengers than it should. Third and fourth were two
London Midland evening services from Euston to Birmingham New Street –
the 6.13pm, which was 62 per cent over capacity, and the 4.48pm at 60
per cent over capacity.
All other services in the top ten were also at least 50 per cent over capacity.
Transport Minister Mr Baker urged train operators to continue work to tackle congestion on their services.
Mr Baker said: ‘Climbing on a crowded train where there is little space
can often be an unpleasant experience.
I will be monitoring these
services closely, and others which have not made the top ten list, and
urging train companies to reduce crowding on the busiest services.’
Richard Hebditch of the Campaign for Better Transport said: ‘There is a
real danger of cattle class travel becoming the norm on the most
The latest statistics show how much of a problem
overcrowding continues to be. Year after year, fares go up faster than
wages yet many passengers find themselves having to stand in cramped
First Great Western managing director Mark Hopwood said it had added 4,500 extra seats from Paddington.
The top ten most overcrowded trains in England and Wales were revealed today, shaming the worst offenders
At 52% over capacity, the South West Trains 7.14am service from Alton in Hampshire to Waterloo was ninth, while the 10th most-crowded service was another London Midland London-Birmingham evening rush-hour service – the 5.46pm Euston to Birmingham New Street, which was 52% over capacity.
Publishing the data was ‘an important
tool to give increased transparency to passengers and help the industry
act to improve journeys.’
Department for Transport (DfT) said all train franchises require the
train operator to address overcrowding and ‘to plan their timetables in
such a way as to ensure, as far as possible, that crowding is not unduly
concentrated on any particular route or individual service. ‘
said the ‘top ten’ list is based on ‘load factor’, which is defined as
the number of standard class passengers on a service expressed as a
percentage of the passenger capacity for that service.
So a train which has the same number of passengers as its official capacity has a ‘load factor’ of 100 per cent.
In a bid to name and shame the worst offenders into action, Transport Minister Norman Baker, pictured, published new Government figures showing the top ten most overcrowded peak-time services
The Transport Department also set out the remedies that some of the train companies were taking said of the most over-crowded service.
It said: ‘First Great Western has recently strengthened the 07:44 service from Henley on Thames to London Paddington by adding an additional carriage, so that the number of standard class seats has increased to 340.’
It added: 'From this month London Midland is providing three Class 350/2 'high density' trains for the 18:13 service from London to Birmingham New Street.'
This is to maximise the number of seats.
’In the long term, London Midland has 10 new 4 car trains on order that will allow them to operate additional trains on this route from 2014.’
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: ‘Faster trains and better services are attracting record numbers of people to the railways, but the flipside is overcrowding on some routes.
Train companies understand passengers' frustration when they cannot get a seat and operators are taking action where they can.’