Feeds

Packed trains 'safer', claim UK rail bosses

Good news for cattle-class commuters

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Those among you who are accustomed to the daily cattle-class commute on Britain's world-class rail network are advised to do some deep-breathing exercises and pour yourselves a stiff brandy before reading on.

And here's why: according to the Evening Standard, bosses of said network have declared that - contrary to what the uninformed man on the street might think - packed trains are actually safer in the event of a crash.

The claim comes from the rail safety watchdog the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), in response to a letter from Newbury Tory MP Richard Benyon asking for action against First Great Western for the "appalling" service from West Berkshire to London.

An ORR spokesman replied: "Research in the late Nineties...found that where there was a crowded or overcrowded train carriage there was no detrimental effect to people involved in crashes. In a lot of cases people were better off in train carriages where there was overcrowding."

He continued: "Service levels are set by the Department for Transport. We are the safety regulator for the industry. However, there is no legal limit on the number of passengers that can travel in any given train. There is no safety law regarding the maximum number of people in a train carriage."

Cue general outrage. Conservative MP for Didcot Ed Vaizey thundered: "That's got to be the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard. It's like arguing you should pack a family saloon with 12 people as a road safety measure. People have got to stop passing the buck."

Shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling weighed in with: "Given the scale of the problem of overcrowding, it's insensitive and crass, to say the least, to say people are better off in packed trains."

A Department for Transport spokesman, meanwhile, sought to assure MPs and commuters alike that "action was being taken to deal with overcrowding and claimed £88m was being spent every week for five years to improve the network".

He added: "We are already increasing capacity on Britain's busiest rail routes, and this will continue. Investment is at record levels and we're also working to make best use of existing capacity.

"Major projects which will deliver more services include the high speed line between London and the South-East which will provide 10,000 extra seats in the peak, and the West Coast Main Line modernisation which has already delivered longer trains into Euston.

"We're seeing more peak services, for example on Chiltern Railways, and South West Trains will deliver longer trains on key commuter lines. This month, First Great Western started introducing refurbished high speed trains, which increase capacity by 35,000 seats a day."

It remains to be seen whether commuters will warm to the idea of actually sitting down on a train, or will opt for the comparative safety of being packed like sardines in a can. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.