Overcrowding on holiday trains

By | Category: Travel rumblings
a empty Transpennine train - unlike the rush hour ones to Manchester Airport

a empty Transpennine train – unlike the rush hour ones to Manchester Airport

The government this week announced the ten most overcrowded rail lines in the country.

Whilst one would naturally think that commuter routes would be the busiest as people try to to get in and out of work, the list throws up some problems for holidaymakers as well especially as we are urged to use public transport rather than adding to congestion by using our cars.

Exactly half of the ten relate to airport routes with the 04.22 from Glasgow to Manchester Airport being the second most overcrowded train in the country. At that time of the morning, it must take some sheer willpower to stay awake as you stand! The additional luggage that would be on trains must make the overcrowding even worse and, as the train nears its destination it will pick up passengers commuting into Manchester as well making the situation even worse.

The other services to avoid are the  06:00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley;  the 16.00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley; the 18:00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley and the  06:51 Southampton Airport Parkway to London Waterloo.

I also wonder whether three other trains listed in the top ten; the 06:57 Brighton to Bedford; the 08:02 Beckenham Junction to Bedford and the 16:26 Bedford to Brighton might also have holidaymakers using London Airport on them.

Just looking at this group, I repeat what I said earlier that it looks as the mixture of holidaymakers and commuters is making life difficult for both parties. An obvious solution would be to run airport trains direct to the airport after a certain stop so that commuters could not board. The 04.22 stops at nine stations before reaching the airport. It reaches Preston at 07.42 and Wigan at 07.55 arriving at Manchester Piccadilly at 08.27 an ideal time for a commuter tohave time to get to the workplace.  Removing Manchester Oxford Roadand Manchester Piccadilly from the timetable might help holidaymakers but not commuters unless other services could be laid on. Already in the south east of England, many platforms have been lengthened to accommodate 12 carriage trains rather than eight so is that an option for train companies and Network Rail?   I’m guessing that the 04.22 service is a three coach train so why couldn’t it be six, ie two trains hooked together.

Each year this list comes out but what action happens? The same train services reappear suggesting that after the fuss has subsided, train companies do nothing.  The same 04.22 was top of the list in 2014. Cannot a clause be added to contracts imposing some penalty such as fares at 25% of normal fares if the overcrowding is not resolved within 30 days? Initially that will cause more people to catch them to save money but the train companies will lose money so they will want to resolve the problem quickly.

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