West Ham MP hears of ‘horrific’ overcrowding on trains

Overcrowding on trains to Barking has become a major issue for campaigners (Pic by David Mirzoeff)

Overcrowding on trains to Barking has become a major issue for campaigners (Pic by David Mirzoeff) - Credit: Archant

West Ham MP Lyn Brown met with the Barking-Gospel Oak Rail Group on Thursday to hear their complaints about overcrowding on trains.

She asked the campaigners to brief her about the problems they face on the line, which serves Wanstead Park station, and was met with concerns over “horrific” commuter conditions raised by the group’s secretary Glenn Wallis.

“There is horrific overcrowding during the morning and evening rush hours,” he said. “The trains have only two carriages, which are completely inadequate for the numbers who want to travel.”

But he added that the meeting was constructive and Lyn Brown has pledged to meet with Transport for London (TfL) to make the group’s case against overcrowding.

“It was very kind of the user group to spend their time discussing the problems with the Barking-Gospel Oak line,” she said. “The problems with overcrowding have become seriously worse over the last few years.”

Glenn Wallis has claimed that at peak time in January, he caught a train that had at least double the amount of passengers as seats.

“Just after December I went down to Barking between half past six and half past eight and the trains had 124 seats for what must have been up to 315 people,” he said.

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He said that TfL has no plans to relieve the problems he and other commuters face and that the line will not have electricity until at least 2016 – maybe even 2017.

“The main concern at the moment is doing anything to relieve the overcrowding at peak-time,” he said.

He put it to Lyn Brown that TfL should use diesel engines in the meantime as he believes this will increase the frequency of trains available, which will in turn ease congestion and overcrowding.

The Labour MP agreed that a solution must be reached in the short term while the train line waits to be electrified.

“A solution needs to be found for the interim period before electrification, when we all must expect TfL to deliver a quality and comfortable service which these commuters so badly need and deserve,” she said.

More details on the group’s campaign is available at barking-gospeloak.org.uk