Are more Greater Anglia trains needed for commuters?

Busy Train

David Lawrence took this picture in his busy train this week. - Credit: David Lawrence

As the number of commuter trains being run by Greater Anglia increases, passengers are facing increasingly-busy peak-hour services which have prompted fears among some travellers.

Essex commuter David Lawrence took this picture on Monday evening as he travelled home from London to Kelvedon on the 5.36pm train from London which continued to Clacton.

He wrote to the company to complain about the lack of trains causing serious crowding as he travelled home. He said: "Services are not running any where near normal.  The service I am currently on is packed beyond belief."

Mr Lawrence said that the train was almost full when it left London Liverpool Street Station - but by the time it reached Stratford it had standing room only.

His pictures showed many passengers crowded in together with only a small minority wearing any form of face covering to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Greater Anglia said it had restored many trains on Monday as more commuters were returning to work - and the situation was kept under constant review.

Social distancing rules were all abolished last year and the end of the Plan B restrictions saw the end of the legal requirement to wear face coverings.

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Greater Anglia, along with other rail companies across the country, is reminding passengers of government advice that they should wear face coverings on public transport, especially if it is crowded, but it has no powers to enforce this.

A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: “We introduced more services from Monday in response to the changing situation.

“We are sorry to hear about Mr Lawrence’s concerns. We’d like to reassure him and others that it is safe to travel on our trains even when they’re busy.

"We are continuing with enhanced cleaning and sanitisation especially of high touch areas such as push buttons, grab handles and arm rests.

"Our trains have good ventilation, either aircon which distributed fresh air every six to nine minutes or opening windows. They all have doors which open at stations.

“We are currently carrying 40%-50% of weekday commuters. Customers are advised to use the whole length of the train and platform, wear a face covering if they can and to wash or sanitise their hands regularly.

“Mr Lawrence has been in touch with us and we will respond to him direct.”