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Police called to ‘sardine service’

Leighton Buzzard Train Station

Leighton Buzzard Train Station

 

Leighton’s MP says he will hold a railway company serving the town to account following health fears on a packed-out Saturday service.

It comes after British Transport Police were called to Euston because ‘exasperated’ passengers who had been ‘forced to stand like sardines’ were seated in first class where there were empty seats.

Following concerns raised by a constituent, Andrew Selous MP has written to the managing director of London Midland to ask that it urgently provides more carriages on its Saturday services.

Mr Selous claims his constituents say that they now no longer take the train to London on Saturdays because trains are so overcrowded and that they drive instead.

Mr Selous said: “I was very concerned to hear about this incident and grateful to my constituent for raising it with me. I get the impression that their weekend service is an afterthought and if people do not like it, then lump it.

“But people in Leighton Buzzard have the right to visit family, go and see shows or whatever leisure activity they wish; and there are a lot of people who have to work at the weekend too who need a decent service.

“Travelling by train is not cheap and passengers have a right to expect a seat. I do not think it is good enough to offer people a second class service just because it’s a Saturday.

“I knew it was an interest that affected the whole town so I have written to the managing director of London Midland to express that I feel it should be made a priority to provide decent weekend service for the town. I absolutely intend to hold them to account, I won’t let them fob me off.”

Ged Burgess, of London Midland, said: “We have brought in thousands of extra seats over the years for passengers. You have to remember it costs £1 million per carriage so to get any more is quite an achievement and I am pleased to say we have more carriages going on the Leighton Buzzard route next year.

“Although I am not sure exactly how many of those will be in Leighton, I know that it will relieve congestion for the town’s station, and we are also investing in comfortable, modern trains too.”

London Midland is advising passengers to plan ahead as changes to timetables over the holiday period commence.

The train company says it analyses passenger counts and ticket sales each year to predict likely demand for services over Christmas and New Year, but additional carriages will also be added to some trains to reflect changes in demand.

This year train services will start to thin out from around 1pm on Christmas Eve, with last train services finishing early.

There are no trains Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

 

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