Anorak News | Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only

by | 22nd, March 2006

‘FORGET the Commonwealth Games (that was quick!) and know that the real contest if to get a seat on the 8.02am Cambridge to London express.

‘Last one to the seat’s Zola Budd’

Here comes the train now. You get to your marks, strategically placed lumps of spat-out chewing gum stuck at points along the platform’s edge.

The train pulls in. You are right by the door. But what’s this? Someone wants to get off. You don’t dare yield an inch of space to your agonists and giving this inconsiderate commuter a quick slap in the shins with your brief care, you angle your umbrella like a medieval jouster and charge inside. But elation rapidly gives way to dejection as you note that all the seats are taken.

You give anyone younger than you your best disapproving stare, But they won’t move. No one cares. To the victors, the spoils. Along with the other 198 passengers on this service, you will have to stand for 85 minutes.

At least you can take some pride in knowing that, according to the Department for Transport, this is the most overcrowded train in the entire country.

Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act, and looked over by the Telegraph, say 433 passengers want to use the 234 seats on this service.

While the blood settles into your shoes, you can marvel at how popular train travel has become. It is noting short of a triumph.

And there is more. Thameslink’s Sutton to Luton 4.33pm train has provided 412 seats for 618 passengers. And Southern’s 7.51am shuttle from Victoria to London Bridge has 635 seats for 944 passengers.

By now your feet are as numb and unfeeling as the train operators who allow such things to happen. And it is against the rules. As the Times says, such services are in breach of the Department for Transport’s Passengers in Excess of Capacity regulations.

The rules clearly state that for journeys in excess of 20 minutes a train’s capacity must be the equivalent to the number of seats.

But things are set to change. The Times says that Network Rail is to replace six and eight-car trains with ten-carriage trains on South West Trains services to Waterloo.

And so as long as everyone gets one of those, things should be just fine…’

Posted: 22nd, March 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink