Overcrowded trains ‘breach safety rules’

Chelsea Peterson on an overcrowded Southern train SUS-140828-151534001
Chelsea Peterson on an overcrowded Southern train SUS-140828-151534001

An Eastbourne commuter has claimed that Southern Railway is breaching safety conditions due to overcrowded trains.

Chelsea Peterson, who travels to Eastbourne on Southern’s Ashford International service every day, revealed some of the horrendous conditions passengers have to deal with and said she watched on in horror as a fellow passenger fainted.

“I use the train every day and it is only ever two coaches long,” she said.

“As you can imagine, at rush hour in the morning and at night it gets overly crowded and breaches its maximum allowance for the number of people standing.

“People complain, it stinks, there are no windows or air conditioning and I even saw a young girl faint on the train while it was moving.

“Luckily she was okay in the end but it could have been a lot worse.”

Chelsea says she has tried to voice her concerns to the rail network but her protestations have been met with a wall of silence.

“I have contacted Southern Railway a number of times with pictures and information,” she added.

“They may not know the conditions as they don’t travel on this train, so I sent a polite email about eight months ago and got nothing back.

“I then tried again four months later and the same thing happened. Me and the other passengers are sick and tired of complaining and not being heard.”

However, a spokesperson from Southern Railway said they received just one email on May 30 and had sent two responses.

They also said they understand her concerns but have to work within difficult constraints and insisted that the carriages were, in fact, air-conditioned.

The line which the Ashford International service runs on is a non-electrified route and they have a limited number of diesel carriages.

“While we share passengers’ aspirations for longer trains on this route, we are constrained by the finite amount of stock currently available.

“The diesel fleet has to be shared between two routes. Currently there are no additional diesel units available to increase this 

“In the longer term it is hoped that the electrification of routes elsewhere in the country may cascade diesel rolling stock for use elsewhere.”