overcrowded train evacuated


Police had to help evacuate 150 people from a “dangerously” overcrowded train as holidaymakers flocked to Cornwall in huge numbers for the Easter break.

Passengers reported being packed into carriages like sardines for the popular Bank Holiday getaway from London to the Westcountry.

Several hours into one journey many were told they had to leave the train early amid safety fears over the sheer volume of people making the trip.

The problems heightened when an already crowded Good Friday train from London Paddington to Penzance arrived in Plymouth, Devon.

While several more holidaymakers wanted to get on, those standing by the door were told to get off.

A large group then spilled out of the carriages onto the platform and waited for extra carriages to be added to the next train.

The British Transport Police were called when some passengers refused to budge.

But a spokesman for the operator Great Western Railway said the action was necessary and added they were working hard to ensure there was no repeat of the chaos during the return journeys today. (Monday)

A spokesman from GWR said the 10:00 GMT service was “very busy” when it left London Paddington and it “picked up more passengers” as it travelled towards Penzance.

They said: “Two services arrived at Plymouth ahead of the London Paddington service and terminated there, which resulted in a lot of people waiting to board this train.

“The train manager said the situation was unsafe and asked people standing right by the doors to leave.”

He said police assisted staff as some passengers did not want to leave.

GWR said a further six carriages were added to a two carriage train that departed about one hour later and took the remaining passengers into Cornwall.

The company also provided another train to Penzance later on Good Friday and said the service had been busier than usual.

It said it was looking at ways to prevent a similar situation on Monday.

Some passengers who were caught up in the chaos described the situation as dangerous.

Robert Wyndham, 43, of London, said: “We had booked our ticket weeks ago. But they seemed to be surprised at how many people wanted to go to Cornwall for the Easter bank holiday.

“We were packed in like sardines. It was dangerous and I guess they did what was necessary but it should never have got to that stage.”

Eve Conway, who tweeted pictures of the overcrowded carriages, wrote: “Chaotic scene on overcrowded train to Penzance.

“Passengers lie in aisles, etc. Safety hazard.”

Another passenger Ali Swindell wrote on Facebook: “It was actually dangerous. If anyone had a medical emergency there’s no way they could have been seen to. You couldn’t even lift your arms properly or turn.

“I asked GWR what the limit was for passengers and they said they didn’t have a limit.

“This seems crazy to me. In light of what’s been happening recently you would have thought they wouldn’t fill trains up to the brim.”

Another passenger Chrissie Parker wrote: “It’s like this every bank holiday.

“I had to stand in the toilet on one journey even though I had a seat booked – someone was in it and refused to move.

“They put on enough carriages, but the amount of people travelling is in excess of what the trains /platforms can handle.

“I do think they should do something about it. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Jennifer Brown wrote: “I was on that train. It was unbelievable overcrowding.

“Passengers were saying that the train was fully reserved a month ago, every seat sold.”

The British Transport Police has been asked for a comment.


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