Train commuters ‘crammed into toilets’ on overcrowded train

TRAIN cancellations and missing carriages left an Edinburgh commuter service so overcrowded fuming passengers were forced to stand crammed into toilets.

Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 06:18 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 06:27 am

People aboard the Borders Rail service between Tweedbank and the Capital reported seeing around six passengers crammed into the toilets, with many others left behind on the platform.

Around 150 commuters were left stranded at Newcraighall station yesterday after ScotRail cancelled two of its peak services between 8am and 9am.

When the 8.41am service finally arrived, passengers were left furious to find out it had been reduced to just two carriages.

Overcrowding on a ScotRail train

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This combined with the previous cancellations led to cramped conditions aboard the train.

Chris Berry, a regular commuter, was forced to walk to work after being unable to board his usual train at Brunstane.

He described regularly seeing passengers resorting to unusual measures to cope with the overcrowding,

“For the last three weeks I can’t remember a single day without cancellations or significant delays. I’ve quite often seen people standing in the toilets and even in the inactive driver’s cabs at the back of the train.

Overcrowding

“It’s bad enough you have to endure these conditions, but what would happen if – God forbid – there was a derailment? It’s incredibly dangerous.”

Scotrail has apologised for the situation and says it is aware of the ongoing issues:

In response to angry complaints on social media, a representative said: “We’re really sorry about this, it’s not good enough. We’re working hard to recruit more staff, in addition to increasing our fleet size from 800 to 1,000 carriages. Unfortunately, there is no overnight fix, but improvements are being made.”

One passenger, who did not wish to be identified, was critical of the lack of government response.

He took to social media to voice his frustrations saying: “I didn’t make it onto the train, I’ve had to drive into work and pay £13 parking for the day, picking up a colleague at Brunstane, who was also unable to board.

“As paying commuters we deserve better and are being let down and ignored by our elected officials.”

The section of the Borders rail line between Newcraighall and Waverley has been identified as one of the worst bottlenecks in Scotland.

Pressure group The Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) last month highlighted the issue of short-formed trains and cancellations causing overcrowding and is lobbying for a user group of commuters to be formed to bring passenger concerns into sharper focus.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s biggest rail union has threatened a repeat of the “carnage” inflicted on ScotRail last year if it is not offered the same new deal for working on days off as train drivers.

newsen@edinburghnews.com