Overcrowding: the worst trains in England & Wales

Overcrowding on Britain’s passenger trains is getting worse according to the latest DfT figures, but new rolling stock under construction should bring some relief by 2018.

Overcrowding statistics are complied by internal rail managements for monitoring purposes. Since 2012 they have included the regional cities in England and Wales as well as those for London. The morning peak is defined as arrivals between 0700 and 0959; and the evening peak as departures between 1600 and 1859.

Surveys are normally conducted on typical weekdays, usually Tuesdays or Thursdays.

The rail industry uses various measures to define overcrowding. One of the most common is the Standard Class Load Factor (SCLF). This expresses the actual number of passengers carried by the number of standard class seats available in percentage terms. If all standard class seats in a carriage are occupied and no one has to stand, the SCLF is 100%. Overcrowding  is anything above 100%.

In some cases a standing allowance is included if the journey time to the most crowded station on route takes 20 minutes or less. The standing allowance depends on the type of rolling stock and can account for as much as 35% of the seated capacity.

The latest figures refer to Spring and Autumn 2015. The 10 worst SCLF ratings for Spring 2015 ranged between 222% and 160%; those for Autumn 2015, between 229% and 161%. These figures are higher than the results for the same periods in previous years.

The loadings were automatically counted by on board train equipment, or manually by staff.

“The overcrowding figures for the ‘top 10’ services are often derived from one-off measurements of the passengers on each train on a particular weekday. They may not be an average representation of overcrowding on the service over a period of time. Furthermore, some of the passenger load numbers are obtained by manual counting and so there is a significant risk of human error. Hence the figures should be treated with caution,” the DfT emphasises.

The figures show that four trains were repeat offenders and appeared in both sets of tables (as asterisked); the standing allowance was only applicable in the 4th and 8th ranked Spring trains, and the 5th train in the Autumn trains. (The results were confined to franchised train operators only).

 

                                                                 Worst Top Ten (Spring 2015)
 
Service Most crowded station TOC SCLF
0700 Brighton-Bedford 0820 London Blackfriars GTR 222%
0734 Didcot Parkway-Paddington 0816 Paddington GWR 200%
0422 Glasgow Cen’-Manchester Airport * 0824 Manchester Oxford Rd TPE 193%
1600 Manchester Airport-Edinburgh Wav’ * 1619 Manchester Oxford Rd TPE 174%
0751 Heathrow T5-Paddington 0814 Ealing Broadway Heathrow Connect 170%
0732 Woking-Waterloo * 0819 Waterloo SWT 168%
0707 Henley on Thames-Paddington 0754 Paddington GWR 166%
0808 Sutton-St Albans City 0839 Elephant & Castle GTR 166%
1746 Euston-Crewe * 1746 Euston LM 163%
0714 Alton-Waterloo 0822 Waterloo SWT 160%

 

 

                                                                 Worst Top Ten (Autumn 2015)
 
Service Most crowded station TOC SCLF
0657 Brighton-Bedford 0820 London Blackfriars GTR 229%
0422 Glasgow Cen’-Manchester Airport * 0822 Manchester Oxford Rd TPE 215%
1600 Manchester Airport-Edinburgh Wav’ * 1619 Manchester Oxford Rd TPE 196%
1800 Manchester Airport- Edinburgh Wav’ 1819 Manchester Oxford Rd TPE 176%
0802 Beckenham Junction-Bedford 0820 Elephant & Castle GTR 171%
1746 Euston-Crewe * 1746 Euston LM 166%
0732 Woking-Waterloo * 0819 Waterloo SWT 166%
1626 Bedford-Brighton 1740 London Blackfriars GTR 166%
0651 Southampton Airport PW-Waterloo 0808 Waterloo SWT 163%
0615 Edinburgh Wav’-Manchester Airport 0923 Manchester Oxford Road TPE 161%

By 2018, new trains should be in service on the Thameslink and SWT services; electrification of the GWML will also be underway. This will add greater capacity by offering more seats but platform lengths at some stations will prevent the running of longer trains.

FirstGroup-owned GWR ranked 2nd and 7th in the 2015 tables for worst performing trains
FirstGroup-owned GWR ranked 2nd and 7th in the 2015 tables for worst performing trains

DfT: Top10 overcrowded trains in England & Wales 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *