A commuter who travels on an overcrowded morning train between Newmarket and Cambridge has called the service “an accident waiting to happen”.
Passenger Deb Hayes said that Abellio Greater Anglia’s Ipswich to Cambridge train, which calls at Newmarket Station at 7.52am and also stops at Dullingham, is so packed that up to six travellers are forced to stand in the toilet for the 30-minute journey to work.
“Nobody who gets on at Newmarket gets a seat and we are all just squashed in. Then the train stops at Dullingham and we are shouted at by the conductor to move up to allow at least another 30 people on. This happens daily and even when there are three carriages instead of the usual two we are still all crammed together, said Ms Hayes, who lives in Barry Lynham Drive, Newmarket.
“I pay the best part of £1,400 a year for the privilege of being squashed in the doorway and shouted at but when I complained to Abellio’s customer services they told me that my ticket only guaranteed me a journey - not a seat”.
Ms Hayes said the main reason she was speaking out about the overcrowding, which has worsened during the last year, was the issue of health and safety.
“If we hit another train or had to make a sudden stop, people could be seriously injured if not killed. It’s not like being on a tube train where there are straps or rails to hold on to. We just have to stand and balance as best we can and it is an accident waiting to happen.
“It also concerns me that college students and school children use this service and I think it is unacceptable that these young girls should have to travel pressed up against male passengers. I actually find it rather scary.”
Improved facilities at Newmarket Station costing £100,000 and partially funded by the Jockey Club, Newmarket Racecourses and Tattersalls, were opened by West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock on February 5.
Now, Ms Hayes has called on Mr Hancock to press Abellio Greater Anglia for improvements to the service.
“What is urgently needed is more trains and extra carriages.
“Given the amount of money spent on revamping the platform, the actual train service is appalling,” she said.
A spokesman for Abellio Greater Anglia said that on the day Ms Hayes’ photos were taken, there was ‘a train fault’.
“Over the past year we have increased most of our Ipswich to Cambridge services from two carriages to three. We would like to apologise for the crowding.
“The rail industry continues to see significant growth in passenger numbers and we have worked to provide additional seating capacity on services, where possible, during our current short franchise.”