Rail Minister renews pledge to tackle overcrowding on trains


The government has renewed its commitment to provide more seats, more services and better journeys across the rail network, following the publication today (9 September 2015) of the latest crowding statistics.

As part of the government’s record investment in the rail network, more than 3,700 extra carriages will be rolled out across the UK by the end of 2019 – with schemes such as the government’s Intercity Express and Thameslink programmes set to provide state-of-the-art new trains on routes around the country.

The ongoing efforts to increase capacity have been highlighted as the Department for Transport published statistics showing the extent of crowding on trains in England and Wales during 2014. The figures include a list of the top 10 most crowded trains during autumn last year, ranking the busiest peak services in major cities according to passenger count data.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said:

We have seen record-breaking numbers use the railways in the past year, with 1.7 billion journeys completed in 2014, more than double the number recorded a decade ago.

To meet this unprecedented demand we are investing £38 billion in the railways for the 5 years until 2019, underpinned by flagship schemes like the Intercity Express and Thameslink programmes to provide more space and more seats on trains.

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.

In the past 12 months since the previous crowding statistics, the rail industry and government have continued to make significant progress in addressing capacity issues:

  • the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) is well underway to delivering new, larger trains on the Great Western Line from 2017, which appears twice in today’s top 10 list, and on the East Coast Mainline from 2018, which is forecast for rapid growth in demand. IEP will unlock more capacity on these routes by adding 40% more seats in the morning peak in to Paddington and by 28% into Kings Cross respectively
  • the Thameslink Programme, which is transforming one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railways, delivered the first state-of-the-art class 700 train to the UK for testing in July, with roll out into passenger service commencing in Spring 2016. The new trains will add 30,000 more seats in the Thameslink core, between Blackfriars to St Pancras International, while passengers departing from Bedford to London will benefit from 2,500 more seats in the morning peak. One Thameslink service appears in the top 10 list.

Large new rolling stock orders, agreed with government, have also been placed this year to boost capacity. In July 2015 First Great Western announced 29 long-distance trains to serve the south west from 2018, adding 1,000 additional seats at peak times. On c2c, which serves the route between London and Essex, 68 new carriages will be introduced from 2019 onwards.

Other recent improvements for busy commuter routes include:

  • First Great Western completing its conversion of first class carriages on High Speed Trains in July, to create 3,000 more standard class seats a day across the network and nearly 16% more standard class seats on services into London in the morning peak
  • the government confirming that on the Northern network, the removal of the outdated and unpopular Pacers will be complete by the end of 2019, with at least 120 brand-new carriages introduced on the franchise — by 2020, the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises will deliver an increase in peak capacity into the major northern cities by more than a third
  • South West Trains currently adding 108 extra refurbished carriages to its network — the roll-out will deliver capacity for an extra 23,000 peak-time travellers every day
  • London Midland welcoming a £62 million DfT-funded fleet of new electric trains into service from October 2014 — 2 months earlier than planned, providing extra carriages on some of the busiest morning and evening services to and from London Euston

Read the rest of the article from the source: UK.GOV

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