Train service exposed as one of UK’s most crowded
Passengers blast ‘nightmare’ Three Bridges and Gatwick journey
16th September 2015 – Crawley News
By Rachel Barr
A train service which passes through Three Bridges and Gatwick is one of the most crowded in the country according to the Department for Transport.
STANDING ROOM ONLY: A Gatwick and Three Bridges service has been named as the seventh most crowded in the country
A list of the ten most crowded rail services in England and Wales in 2014 has been released by the Government department; and the 7.24am Brighton to Bedford train came in at number seven.
The service, which now runs at 7.22am from Brighton after the timetable was tweaked, arrives at Three Bridges at 7.56am.
It is particularly crowded mainly because it the latest train many people can get and still arrive in London for 9am. It arrives at London Blackfriars at 8.49, City Thameslink at 8.52, Farringdon at 8.56 and St Pancras at 9am.
After we reported on our website that the service was among the country’s most crowded Crawley commuters took to Facebook to explain how they had changed their routines just to avoid it.
Trish Jenkins said: “I pro-actively choose to get up earlier just to avoid that hellish journey every day “It is borderline dangerous some days and I’ve seen people get very anxious over the crowding, heat and fights that ensue by the time it hits East Croydon.”
Several passengers have also started sitting in First Class to try and combat the overcrowding.
Laura Meyer said: “I can’t stand on the train due to health reasons, and feel awkward presenting a card to someone sitting, so at first I bought first class tickets for my commute.
“Then I found out that you aren’t even guaranteed that because if it’s really busy loads of people sit in them anyway.
“In the end, I just get off any full train and wait for the next one.”
Tracey Palmer added: “It’s a nightmare for my family We have to get early trains to get to appointments at Great Ormond Street.
“All the commuters mutter under their breath when they see us with the buggy Me and my son were nearly crushed one day.
“I now sit in first class if there is a seat, with my son on my lap and if anyone says anything they will get a mouthful. Some of us don’t have a choice what train we get.”
Another train user Colin Latimer-Parry, said the trains on the route have a lack of storage space which causes even more problems.
“I get this train every day to Luton,” he explained. “What doesn’t help is the new style train doesn’t have enough storage room for luggage and when customers board at Gatwick space is at a premium.”
A spokesman for Thameslink, which runs the service, said that improvements have already been made since the figures were recorded.
He said: “Since the passenger count was carried out on this train last autumn, we have removed two station stops which has relieved the crowding.
“These stops were removed in readiness for the introduction of the first of our new longer, 12-carriage trains, from spring next year which will provide further capacity for our passengers.
“And later, in 2018, when the Thameslink Programme is finished, we will be able to triple the number of carriages from Brighton to London Blackfriars via East Croydon in the busiest hour of the morning peak providing, additionally, many more carriages from East Croydon , on trains from other routes.”
The spokesman also said that new Thameslink trains have been designed with airport travellers in mind. They will be more spacious with bigger entrance areas of the carriages.
The most crowded trains in Britain …
- 4.22am Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport
- 4pm Manchester Airport to Edinburgh
- 6.31am Reading to London Paddington
- 7.57am London Heathrow to London Paddington
- 7.02am Reading to London Paddington
- 6.35am Caterham Victoria Central
- 7.24am Brighton to Bedford
- 6pm Manchester Airport to Edinburgh
- 7.32am Woking to London Waterloo
- 7.02am Woking to London Waterloo