Most overcrowded train revealed

UK News | Published:

More than 230,000 passengers were standing on trains in London across all services in the morning and evening peaks.

The most overcrowded train in England and Wales in autumn 2018 was a service from London Euston to Crewe (Sally Wardle/PA)

A train from London Euston to Crewe was the most overcrowded in England and Wales last autumn, new figures show.

There were more than twice as many standard class passengers as the registered capacity when the West Midlands Trains (WMT) service departed the capital at 5.46pm on a typical weekday, giving it a load factor of 214%.

The Department for Transport (DfT), which published the data, said WMT introduced timetable changes in May to increase capacity on a number of alternative services.

Top five most overcrowded train services in England and Wales
(PA Graphics)

The 6.07pm Greater Anglia train from London Liverpool Street to King’s Lynn was the second most overcrowded train, with a load factor of 183% at Tottenham Hale.

Other services in the top 10 most packed trains include:

– 7.02am South Western Railway train from Woking to London Waterloo (load factor 175%)
– 7.34am Greater Anglia train from Norwich to Cambridge (load factor 173%)
– 7.18am Govia Thameslink Railway train from Bedford to Brighton (load factor 168%)

The DfT stated that the 10 most overcrowded trains represent a small fraction of all services and some of the figures are based on a single count.


More than 230,000 passengers were standing on trains in London across all services in the morning and evening peaks.

This is a fall of 0.3 percentage points year-on-year to 19.4%.

The cities with the largest increase in passengers standing were Birmingham (up 3.9 percentage points), Leeds (up 3.3 percentage points) and Liverpool (up 2.6 percentage points).

Some 16.8% of passengers were standing in the peaks across all 14 selected major cities, which was unchanged from autumn 2017.


Darren Shirley, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Peak time rail is bursting at the seams.

“With 17% of commuters not getting a seat, too many people are paying thousands of pounds to stand in aisles, vestibules and even toilet cubicles.

“To reduce overcrowding and make sure passengers get value for their ticket we must continue to invest in better stations, track and rolling stock.”

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Train companies are working together to increase capacity and make journeys more comfortable by introducing 6,400 extra services a week and running thousands of new carriages as well as hundreds of refurbished-like-new carriages by the early 2020s.

“In the longer term, major upgrades like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will add thousands more seats to the network, supporting job creation and better connecting cities across Britain.”

A DfT spokesman said: “With the number of journeys on our railways having doubled in the past 20 years, we are investing a record £48 billion to modernise the network and deliver more capacity and more frequent services for passengers.”

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