A number of residents have recently raised concerns with me about ongoing problems with platform / train overcrowding and related concerns about health and safety. Please see below for the latest response from South West Trains (Tim Shoveller, Managing Director).
I have arranged a meeting with the station manager on Friday 19 February so if you have specific questions, suggestions or issues you would like me to raise, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will report back here on this blog.
On extending train carriages/platforms…
“You will be aware of the additional rolling stock being introduced across our network. However, to clarify the position, the project to increase capacity on our suburban network has a number of different stages. Initially the 10 car trains are being introduced on the lines from Waterloo and Weybridge via Richmond and Hounslow. The lines between Raynes Park and Waterloo are already operating at maximum capacity in the peak hours. The limitations of the current infrastructure simply do not allow the operation of any additional trains, hence the project to increase the capacity by the provision of longer trains (10). The 10 car railway project includes both the extension of platforms to accommodate 10 car trains and the acquisition of additional carriages to our train fleet.
Works to extend platforms where necessary have been undertaken across the suburban network and indeed a limited number of trains at now formed of 10 carriages. Unfortunately we cannot start operating 10 car trains on the majority of suburban trains through Wimbledon until platforms 1-4 at Waterloo are lengthened to accommodate them. The works at Waterloo are a complex operation and will require a major engineering works possession, closing some of the tracks between Clapham Junction and Waterloo for an extended period. After this a number of trains will be able to enter service on this and other routes providing up to 25% more capacity.
In addition to the first tranche of 108 additional carriages currently being introduced into the service following complete refurbishment further parts of the programme to provide additional capacity include 30 new five car trains for delivery from 2017-18 and the reopening of the former international platforms at Waterloo for domestic use of the next few years to enable more trains to operate.”
On health and safety…
“All the trains we operate do so in full compliance with all safety requirements and are safe to operate on all the routes they are passed to run on. Every Tain is designated to operate safely, even when full and standing, with no adverse effect on structural integrity and braking performance. There is no statutory limit on the numbers travelling on a train and to enforce such a limit would be difficult unlike a bus or plane, where access is restricted to a particular door for example. As a commuter railway we understand that the majority of our passengers are restricted to the time of train they wish to take.
…regarding Earlsfield station…’platform train interface’ risk assessments have been carried out by our operations standards team along with the local station managers and local health and safety representatives at each station. These are designed to assess the risks for passengers boarding at stations and put measures in place to mitigate any identified risks. One of the outcomes of this assessment at Earlsfield was to put two additional staff in place on platform 2 during morning peak hours to assist the train dispatch member of staff with the safe management of the platform. These staff are currently agency staff. They are due to be replaced by South West Trains staff by March 2016. We will then have three train dispatch staff in place on platform 2 in the morning peak period. We regularly review the risk assessment mentioned above along with the train dispatch plan for the station to ensure the platform is managed safely.”