AS MANY as 20% of London-bound rail commuters have to stand at the busiest times of the morning rush-hour, Government figures have shown.
As many as 60% of morning peak trains into the capital have passengers standing, with just under one million passengers arriving into central London a day.
Based on rail journeys on a typical autumn weekday in 2013, the Department for Transport (DfT) figures showed crowding figures for London, nine other English cities and Cardiff.
Overcrowding in London was worst at Paddington station, while there were large increases in overcrowding compared with autumn 2012 at Blackfriars, Euston, King’s Cross and St Pancras stations.
The city with the largest overcrowding was Sheffield although overall overcrowding at the 11 cities was only marginally worse in autumn 2013 than in autumn 2012.
Two morning rush hour journeys connecting York and Leeds also figure in a list of the most overcrowded services.
Of train companies, First Great Western had the highest level of overcrowding of any London and south east England operator. the next-worse was London Midland.
On London Overground the design of new trains, with fewer seats, meant that in autumn 2013 as many as 50.8% of passengers stood in the morning peak and 45.4% stood in the afternoon peak.
Transport Minister Claire Perry said: “Since 1995 passenger journeys on the railway have more than doubled, with 1.6 billion journeys being recorded in the last year.
“This means that on too many journeys, passengers have to stand in cramped conditions. Train operators must act now, they must find new ways to create space on the network and in their trains.”
She went on: “We are investing more than £38 billion in our railway delivering more trains, more seats and more services and we are pushing ahead with plans for a national high-speed rail network that will help solve the problem in the long term.
“I understand the frustration of rail passengers forced to stand on busy services and that is why I am calling on the operators to do more.”
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing Network Rail and rail operators, said: “Running over 1.5 million extra services a year for passengers compared to 15 years ago has helped transform Britain’s railway into Europe’s fastest growing network.
“While the official measure of crowding during peak times now compared with then has remained largely unchanged despite a doubling in passenger journeys, we recognise that some services remain crowded and understand people’s frustration when they cannot get a seat.
“Because rail users are at the heart of what we do, the industry is already planning to increase peak-time seats into and out of many major cities by a third in the next five years.”
These were the top 10 most-crowded services in autumn 2013, with the percentage extent to which they operated over capacity:
1. The 4.46pm London Euston to Crewe - London Midland - 111% over capacity
2. The 7.32am from Woking to London Waterloo - South West Trains - 73% over capacity
3. The 7.21am from Oxford to London Paddington - First Great Western - 73% over capacity
4. The 6.33pm from Paddington to Heathrow Airport - Heathrow Express - 69% over capacity
5. The 6.30am from Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough - First TransPennine Express - 66% over capacity
6. The 6.13pm from Euston to Birmingham New Street - London Midland - 64% over capacity
7. The 6.07am Banbury to Paddington - First Great Western - 57% over capacity
8. The 6.30am Scarborough to Manchester Airport - First TransPennine Express - 56% over capacity
9. The 6.28am Nottingham to London St Pancras - East Midlands - 55% over capacity
10. The 7.00am Oxford to Paddington - First Great Western - 53% over capacity