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Most overcrowded train services revealed as call made for more investment

One Southern Railway service from East Grinstead to London Bridge has more than double the capacity it was designed for.

An early morning train service from West Sussex to London is the most overcrowded in England and Wales, new figures show.

Southern Railway’s 7.16am train from East Grinstead to London Bridge typically has 1,366 people rammed into a dozen carriages designed for just 640, Department for Transport (DfT) data shows.

This is a load factor of 213% – higher than any other service.

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Top 10 overcrowded weekday train services in England and Wales (PA Graphics)

The DfT said additional carriages cannot be added to the train but when the Thameslink Programme is completed next year there will be extra services on routes south of London to boost capacity.

Other jam-packed journeys making the top 10 overcrowded list include the 6.57am Brighton to Bedford, the 7.55am Cambridge to London King’s Cross and the 4pm Manchester Airport to Edinburgh.

The figures relate to standard class passengers on weekday services in autumn last year.

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Overcrowding on trains in England and Wales by major cities in 2016 (PA Graphics)

The average proportion of passengers carried in excess of capacity on peak services in major cities was 3.8%.

Lianna Etkind, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The latest statistics show that overcrowding continues to make passengers’ lives a misery.

“People are rightly angry that they pay more in fares year after year, but never get a seat, and have to stand crammed into someone else’s armpit.

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Train services in the morning rush hour with passengers standing (PA Graphics)

“With such high levels of overcrowding, the Government cannot expect people to pay for yet another fares hike in January.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Continuing to invest in new trains, better frequency, track capacity and improved signalling will ultimately give passengers a better chance of getting a seat or at least stand in some comfort.

“In return for continuing fare rises passengers expect continued investment and improvement.”

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