Overcrowding concerns on Exmouth to Exeter trains taken to the top

PUBLISHED: 07:30 14 December 2018

A busy platform at the Exmouth train station. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 0876-48-13SH.

A busy platform at the Exmouth train station. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 0876-48-13SH.

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Concerns about overcrowding on a key train service connecting Exmouth to Exeter have been sent to the managing director of Great Western Railway.

Exmouth train station. Ref exe 1428-48-14AW Picture: Alex WaltonExmouth train station. Ref exe 1428-48-14AW Picture: Alex Walton

‘Regular and significant overcrowding’ on a key train service has led one Exmouth commuter to take his concerns to the top.

Exmouth commuter Paul Millar, 26, wrote a letter to Mark Hopwood, managing director of Great Western Railway, after regularly experiencing overcrowding on the 7.51am Exmouth to Barnstaple rail service.

According to Mr Millar, an executive assistant at Exeter University, there is often a ‘shortage of carriages’ leaving the train overcrowded, with some passengers unable to board the service at all.

In his letter to GWR Paul said: “When the train is short formed, some passengers at intermediary stations are unable to board the train while passengers aboard the train are subjected to extremely cramped conditions.

“I particularly worry about the large number of children travelling to school who suffer great discomfort from the overcrowding.

“The overcrowding causes unnecessary delays to the 7:51 service which is often 20 minutes late arriving into Exeter, not long enough for a customer to claim compensation, but long enough to make the same customer late for work.”

The Journal took Paul’s concerns to GWR, a spokesman said: “We know our Exmouth services are in demand. Every train available to us is out on the network, and the only way to add an additional carriage to services would be to remove it from another train in the area.

“Our work to upgrade the train fleet, the biggest upgrade in a generation continues; delivering extra capacity on more trains where it is needed most.

“The trains currently serving this route are expected to be replaced by more modern, longer trains in due course, and form part of an upgrade that will see capacity on suburban commuter services in the Exeter area increase by over 50%.”

Exmouth town councillor and chairman of the Exmouth Transport Partnership Tim Dumper, is unhappy the town is at the ‘end of the list’ for improvements, he said: “I think the main issue is that we’re at the end of the cascade. They’re moving the old diesel trains down here and it is gradually increasing capacity. If there are only three carriages it does lead to massive overcrowding on that train. They ought to look at the timetable in detail and look at putting an additional train on at around that time.”

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