Chiefs rail against train overcrowding

WOKING features twice in a new report detailing the top 10 most overcrowded trains in England and Wales.

The 7.32am Woking to London Waterloo service, as well as the earlier 7.02am train, rank ninth and 10th in the government

The much-maligned South West Trains commuter services current-ly operate at 60 per cent and 58 per cent over capacity, and county officials say the report makes their lobbying for the Crossrail 2 scheme all the more necessary.

Crossrail 2 is a proposed new high-frequency, high-capacity rail line for the South East, running through London and into Surrey and Hertfordshire.

Planners say it will add capacity to the regional rail network, supporting economic regeneration by providing the infrastructure needed to build new homes and create more jobs.

Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Planning, Mike Goodman, said: “It’s a terrible feeling when a train pulls in already chock full and passengers have to pack in like sardines.

“Such overcrowding makes Crossrail 2 vital. Not only will the planned railway reduce overcrowding and boost capacity, it will also ensure Surrey and London’s economies continue to go from strength to strength and that’s why we’re examining the possibility of stretching the route further into the county.

“With Surrey contributing £35 billion to the UK economy annually and 20 per cent more commuters catching the train to London Waterloo within 20 years, it’s essential we do everything possible to ensure the county’s rail network meets the demands of its passengers.”

The council expects to publish its Crossrail 2 study within months. If the project gets Government approval, services could be running by 2030.

Meanwhile, the Government have renewed their pledge to provide more seats on busy trains and to improve rail services in general.

Rail Minister Claire Perry explained: “I know how frustrated customers are with overcrowding and I expect the rail industry, including operators, to continue to develop innovative proposals to meet the capacity challenge head on.”

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