Anyone for a game of train sardines?
Oct 31 2008 by Emma Davison, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
IT’S always a mad scramble to get on – and then passengers are packed like sardines.
Passengers on the 8.27am TransPennine Express service from Huddersfield to Leeds say the scenario has become part of their daily routine.
Commuter Antony Leslie, 52, claimed his daily trip on the train to work as a security guard in Leeds is total misery.
He complained that his services were always late and overcrowded.
And on the morning train most people have to stand for the 25-minute journey.
There was no chance of the conductor or the refreshments trolley passing through and the response from passengers was pretty much unanimous– more needs to done to ease the misery for commuters.
Huddersfield University student Donna Matthews – like many other students – relies on trains to get about and travel home for weekends.
The 21-year-old said she was appalled by the service provided by the train company. She added: “I use trains all the time to get around for my university course and to get home and every time I use a train it seems overcrowded.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. In the morning it sometimes gets so bad that not everyone can get on the train and then they have to wait for the next one. Sometimes the trains run late, especially on weekends.
“The trains are really bad first thing and then again at lunchtime. When people finish work they always seem overcrowded.
“It’s really frustrating to have to stand for a long time and you get pushed and shoved about and it’s not nice – you’re entitled to a seat if you pay for it. It’s also really bad when you see old people being forced to stand.
“Something really needs to be done like putting on more at trains or at least making them longer.”
Daniel Sykes, 20, from Shelley, was on his way to Leeds for a work training course.
He said: “I use the trains at least once a week and they do get overcrowded – I definitely couldn’t do it every morning!
“I think people have a reason to complain because they’re not getting good value for money. They could put more carriages on to help or have more services at peak times.”
Sab Kohli, 34, who works in Leeds, said he usually caught an earlier train to the city and was surprised to find how much of a difference travelling half-an-hour later made.
He said: “I have just started travelling to work at this time but next time I think I might bring my car instead– there’s a lot of people standing on
“I think that people just have to learn to accept that trains are going to be busy at this time, but I do think more could be done to make things easier.”
.. and it’s not much better from Manchester
THE often hellish experiences associated with the daily commute have become all too familiar to me.
Get on the 07.55 train at Manchester first thing in the morning – a favourite with commuters – and you are faced with a mad dash for the doors.
Then the search starts for a seat that doesn’t display a ‘reserved’ sign.
It’s busy at Manchester but fun really starts when the train reaches Huddersfield
The train pulls in and hundreds of faces press against the doors.
As the doors open, a sea of impatient people surge towards you and you have to battle against the tide to get off.
Then, just when you think the battle is over, you face another fight to get out of the station as people queue in a confined space to have their tickets checked.
The weary journey home is just as stressful. Like many other commuters who finish work at 5pm, I catch the 17.16 service back to Manchester.
If you placed a bet on this train being late then you would clean up most of the time. And the reason – if you’re given one at all – will almost always be signalling or a train failure.
If that’s always the case then you’d have thought it would have been sorted by now.
When the train does put in an appearance, battle commences again – this time for people wanting to get off the train with those on the platform left waiting for the packed-train to clear.
Then, when I miss my connection at Manchester – almost always – I’m left waiting again in the familiar surroundings of Starbucks, counting down to my favourite travel-free time of the week – the weekend.