Anger as passengers are ordered off 'overcrowded' Cotswold Line train

The Oxford Times: Commuter Dominic Checksfield outside Oxford station Buy this photo Commuter Dominic Checksfield outside Oxford station

ABOUT 50 passengers were ordered off a Cotswold Line train at Oxford station because of overcrowding.

Rail staff told travellers on the 3.52pm service from London to Worcester Shrub Hill on Friday, February 28, that it would not call at Hanborough, because there were too many people on the train.

Oxford University pensions financial officer Dominic Checksfield said it was the first time this had happened in the six years he had been commuting from Hanborough to the city.

He said: “A lot of us were angry. Some people had childcare arrangements and had to pick their kids up from nursery.”

Mr Checksfield, 49, said that instead of leaving Oxford at 4.49pm, the train stood in the platform for 10 minutes before First Great Western (FGW) staff announced that Hanborough passengers would have to get off.

He said one passenger told to leave was a woman travelling from Reading with her four-month-old baby.

The passengers than had to wait for 45 minutes before catching the next train to Hanborough.

Mr Checksfield, who wrote to FGW to complain, said: “It was more frustration than anything. The staff weren’t especially apologetic.”

He said there had been problems with overcrowding on the service since September last year, when FGW replaced a High Speed Train with a 280-seat Class 180 Adelante train.

Mr Checksfield said: “Since then it has been unbearable but last Friday it wasn’t any more overcrowded than usual.

“The fundamental problem is that given the popularity of this line, it seems ridiculous to throw people off the train because they haven’t got the capacity to provide a service which they ought to.”

Cotswold Line Promotion Group chairman John Ellis has been told by FGW that the event will be investigated.

He said: “It’s quite unacceptable. The worst feature is there was no alternative transport provided for the people of Hanborough and they just had to wait for the next train.”

FGW spokesman James Davis said the change of the type of train being used was due to overhaul work on the HST fleet.

He added: “FGW is aware of an incident at Oxford station where customers were asked to board a proceeding service.

“We are checking the details of the event and are truly sorry for the situation that arose.”

Comments (4)

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9:25am Wed 12 Mar 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

If the safety sensors on the unit identify that it is overloaded by weight (not volume) - then it will sit and sulk until people disembark.

If the heaviest people volunteered to disembark, fewer people would have been inconvenienced.
If the safety sensors on the unit identify that it is overloaded by weight (not volume) - then it will sit and sulk until people disembark. If the heaviest people volunteered to disembark, fewer people would have been inconvenienced. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -4

2:43pm Wed 12 Mar 14

King Joke says...

This is par for the course I'm afraid. FGW often use single sets on Sundays, a day when only half the weekday service is run. Trains are often full on leaving Oxford and go PIXC off Reading and Slough.
This is par for the course I'm afraid. FGW often use single sets on Sundays, a day when only half the weekday service is run. Trains are often full on leaving Oxford and go PIXC off Reading and Slough. King Joke
  • Score: -1

7:45am Thu 13 Mar 14

nickwilcock says...

Overcrowding on FGW trains is now so bad that I've stopped using them. Instead I now use the Chiltern Railways service from Haddenham and Thame Parkway rather than FGW from Didcot. In my recent expereience, they offer an excellent service, particularly for off-peak ticket travellers returning to British West Oxfordshire from London, as you can take any train rather than the slow, overcrowded trains operated by FGW. The 2014 FGW timetable changes have made overcrowding at peak times far worse, because the only fast train available for off-peak ticket holders between 15:36 and 19:30 no longer stops at Didcot. Whereas in the same period, Chiltern have 14 trains with an average journey time of 42 min.

Next year when Oxford Parkway opens, I expect the popularity of the Cotswold Line from Hanborough to drop significantly.
Overcrowding on FGW trains is now so bad that I've stopped using them. Instead I now use the Chiltern Railways service from Haddenham and Thame Parkway rather than FGW from Didcot. In my recent expereience, they offer an excellent service, particularly for off-peak ticket travellers returning to British West Oxfordshire from London, as you can take any train rather than the slow, overcrowded trains operated by FGW. The 2014 FGW timetable changes have made overcrowding at peak times far worse, because the only fast train available for off-peak ticket holders between 15:36 and 19:30 no longer stops at Didcot. Whereas in the same period, Chiltern have 14 trains with an average journey time of 42 min. Next year when Oxford Parkway opens, I expect the popularity of the Cotswold Line from Hanborough to drop significantly. nickwilcock
  • Score: 1

8:29am Thu 13 Mar 14

King Joke says...

I suspect you'll find FGW magically find they manage to sort a lot of the Cotswold Line issues once Oxford Parkway opens.
I suspect you'll find FGW magically find they manage to sort a lot of the Cotswold Line issues once Oxford Parkway opens. King Joke
  • Score: 0

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