Move right on down the carriage of misery

PUBLISHED: 13:22 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 May 2010

713 commuters pack on a train designed for less than 500

713 commuters pack on a train designed for less than 500

The 6.15pm King's Cross to Cambridge train has approximately 713 people on a service normally for 494 and commuters are calling for extra carriages. As soon as the train arrived at platform three at 5.50pm, all the seats had been taken within about four

The 6.15pm King's Cross to Cambridge train has approximately 713 people on a service normally for 494 - and commuters are calling for extra carriages. As soon as the train arrived at platform three at 5.50pm, all the seats had been taken within about four minutes. Thankfully cycles are no longer allowed on trains at rush hour because they would not have fitted on with people squeezing into the doorway. Commuters were standing and sitting in the aisle for the majority of the journey. Lyn Necchi of Royston said: "The train companies should stop the cheap day returns so people can't travel after 4.30pm. When youths are on the train it's not pleasant - it's a nightmare. And if you have a space on the floor it's not nice to keep getting up for a pushchair. "In addition Royston is expanding and how are the trains going to take the extra people? "If there was a train designated solely for Royston or Letchworth there would be no problem filling it up, so it is something First Capital Connect should consider. "Alternatively, we should have double-decker trains like in America. But, I think it's highly unlikely that will ever happen." Commuters got off the train at Royston and Letchworth with a sigh of relief. Roy Larter of Letchworth said: "If you're not at the platform within the first two minutes of the train arriving, you have to sit on the floor. And if you have a long way to travel, it's even worse. "There's rarely even a ticket inspector on this train because they have to climb over everyone. That's how bad it is." Jonathan Barbour of Royston, who was sitting on the luggage stand, said: "You hardly ever get a seat. "I have managed to get a seat only once in one week." Lawrence Krzyzanek of Letchworth had to sit on the floor from Kings Cross to Letchworth. He said: "Too many people go home at the same time, so they should put more trains on." The Department for Transport says investment in new trains and plans in new operating franchises will help tackle overcrowding. And the Association of Train Operating Companies says the railway industry is aware of where there is peak overcrowding. Both are working together to try to find ways of increasing the number of trains, and to allow for longer trains. Atoc is also pressing the government for investment in extra capacity. Royston's MP Oliver Heald said: "I think the only answer is to increase the carriages from eight to 12 cars. "In the past I have had meetings with WAGN to see about lengthening the trains, but it was waiting to see what the new franchise is. "Now we have the new franchise, I have asked to meet the managing director of First Capital Connect. "It ought to do it because there's plenty of business for it, and it's very uncomfortable for people. "I have had constituents who have got on the train at Letchworth and then have had to get off again at Stevenage because it was so uncomfortable. "I am a regular user and I agree with people's concerns. The 17.45 and 18.15 trains from London King's Cross to Cambridge are particularly bad. They are so tight that people even find it hard to sit down in the aisles. They are packed in like sardines. "It's been a long standing issue and an issue I have been taking up with WAGN (the previous franchise) for the past two-to- three years." A spokesman for First Capital Connect, said: "We are a new franchise looking to invest £52million in the next three years. "The money will be put towards improving station quality, computerised and non-computerised notices, ticket machines and revamping the trains and stations. "We cannot give definite plans if we will be extending the carriages on peak trains. "We have had customer complaints and the management teams are looking into it. "Customers always want more carriages but there aren't enough at peak times." If anyone would like to make a comment, visit www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk Email customer relations at: customer.relations.fcc@firstgroup.com

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