Top Ten Overcrowded trains named by Department for Transport

Published 21st December 2012

London - When is a train officially full – The Department’s definition!

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published a report into overcrowding on trains in England and Wales. It says that First Great Western (FGW) operates the top ten overcrowded services on a regular basis.

They collect data via passenger counts made by train operators to monitor on-train crowding levels. It is a franchises requirement for train operators to address crowding and to plan their timetables to ensure, as far as possible, that crowding is not unduly concentrated on any particular route or individual service.

The ‘top ten’ services in autumn 2011 were between 52 and 80 per cent over their capacity limit. The figures are taken from internal management information and the DfT is making this list public because of public interest in this information.

The Top Ten in eleven cities over six hours

The ‘top ten’ list is generated from arrivals into eleven major cities during the morning peak (07:00-09:59) and departures from these cities during the evening peak (16:00-18:59) on a ‘typical’ weekday, for franchised operators only.

The passenger load figure is the count at the busiest point on a given train and may not be the commencing or terminating point of the train. For example, it may be an interchange point such as Stratford or Ealing Broadway. In all cases, the data was collected prior to the December 2011 timetable change and some of these overcrowding figures come from one-off measurements on a particular weekday and may not be an average representation of overcrowding on the service over a period of time.

When is a train full? The Official definition:

The ‘top ten’ list is determined based on ‘load factor’, which is the number of standard class passengers on a service expressed as a percentage of the maximum stated standard class passenger capacity for that service. For example, a train which has the same passenger load as the passenger capacity has a load factor of 100 per cent.

For shorter journeys, where the journey time between stations at the most crowded point is 20 minutes or less, the capacity figures given in the table take account of the number of standard seats plus a standing allowance, which is determined based on the type of rolling stock.

For longer-distance services, where there is a gap longer than 20 minutes between stations, capacity is calculated as the number of standard seats only. A number of services included in the table have their capacity calculated as “seats plus standing” in line with the definition above.

This list is based on peak trains in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The ‘top ten’ services in autumn 2011

07:44 service from Henley on Thames to London Paddington (load factor 180 per cent, 179 passengers in excess of its capacity of 225)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

First Great Western has recently strengthened this service by adding an additional carriage, so that the number of standard class seats has increased to 340.

07:32 service from Woking to London Waterloo (load factor 164 per cent, 471 passengers in excess of its capacity of 738)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

18:13 service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street (load factor 162 per cent, 431 passengers in excess of its capacity of 698)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

From December 2012 London Midland will provide three Class 350/2 'high density' units for this train 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.

16:48 service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street (load factor 160 per cent, 270 passengers in excess of its capacity of 452)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

London Midland plans to increase the capacity on this service by lengthening it from 8 cars to 12 cars in December 2012. 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.

06:30 service from Banbury to London Paddington (load factor 158 per cent, 131 passengers in excess of its capacity of 225)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

From September 2012, this service has started from Oxford not Banbury, leaving Oxford at 07:00. It is now operated by a different type of rolling stock which provides a higher standard class seating capacity.

07:55 service from Stourbridge Junction to Stratford-upon-Avon (load factor 157 per cent, 203 passengers in excess of its capacity of 355)

Capacity includes seats and a standing allowance.

More recent counts suggest much lower loadings on this service.

06:23 service from Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough (load factor 155 per cent, 91 passengers in excess of its capacity of 166)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class.

In the long term, from the May 2014 timetable period it is planned to introduce a fifth train per hour between Manchester and Leeds.

18:17 service from London Liverpool Street to Shenfield (load factor 154 per cent, 465 passengers in excess of its capacity of 864)

Capacity includes seats and a standing allowance. Train is at maximum length.

07:14 service from Alton to London Waterloo (load factor 152 per cent, 385 passengers in excess of its capacity of 738)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

17:46 service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street (load factor 152 per cent, 383 passengers in excess of its capacity of 738)

Capacity is based on seats only. Service has first class and train is at maximum length.

In the long term, London Midland has 10 new 4 car trains on order that will allow additional trains to be operated on this route from 2014.

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