Overcrowded trains putting pupils at risk

Railway train near Hampden Park 'Southern Railway' service, electric EMU. January 5th 2012 E01066N'Stock picture. ENGSNL00120120501101411
Railway train near Hampden Park 'Southern Railway' service, electric EMU. January 5th 2012 E01066N'Stock picture. ENGSNL00120120501101411

Concerns have been raised over the safety of children travelling to Eastbourne area schools on overcrowded two carriage Southern trains.

Robyn Nicolaou, a teacher from St Leonards, who now works in Eastbourne, says she has seen passengers push pupils as they try to pile on the two-carriage train – with some children struggling to get on at all.

The problem is worst on the Ashford to Brighton service, which leaves Hastings at 8.09am.

The 29-year-old said: “The problem is between Hastings and Bexhill.

“By the time it gets to St Leonards, it’s absolutely full to the point people are pushing each other out to get in.

“It’s getting to the point that the conductor is constantly putting announcements out to make people move down the aisles because there is not enough room and people are crushed up against the doors.”

She added: “The commuters seem to be getting a little bit more irate.

“It seems to have gotten worse over the last year or so.

“You also get members of the public getting on the train, not knowing how bad it is, and start shouting and swearing, which is something you don’t want the children to hear.”

Southern says there are no spare diesel trains ‘in the country’ available to lengthen the service.

A Southern spokesman said: “We know these train are very busy but there simply aren’t any spare diesel trains available anywhere else in the country for us to use to lengthen trains on the route. These trains have to be powered by diesel engines due to the route they take and the only other route we use diesels on is the Uckfield Line.

“These Uckfield trains are full and standing for most of the time during the morning peak, so it is not possible to transfer trains from the Uckfield Line to the Marshlink Line as more people would lose than those who would benefit.”

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