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“Please help me persuade Arriva Trains Wales to do something about over-crowding on the Manchester Line” – Andy Shuker

Description

Andy Shuker

Caught the lunchtime train from Frodsham to Manchester last Saturday (10th). The train was 2 carriages long and dangerously overcrowded when I got on at Frodsham - a situation which got steadily worse en-route. I, and many others were packed into the space between the doors with no way of supporting ourselves against the movement of the train and at great risk of invading others' personal space. A complaint was made from a passenger to a station operative at Bank Quay. Further on in the journey there were unpleasant exchanges between people on the train and those on the platform wishing to embark. A very 'British' cameraderie developed in our group as we prepared to 'repel all boarders' at each station.
Whilst we made the best of a bad job - I feel very short-changed by Arriva. The service was woefully inadequate for the demand. I was told by some of the regular sufferers on the train that the situation was usual - but I'm sure Arriva could have anticipated extra demand on a Saturday 2 weeks before Christmas at the very least! Very poor show! I will consider all alternatives before I use that service again.

Problem History

  • 1 Andy Shuker reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 18:46 13 Dec 2011
  • 2 Andy Shuker wrote to Arriva Trains Wales close 18:46 13 Dec 2011

    Here is the letter that Andy Shuker wrote.

    Overcrowding

    Caught the lunchtime train from Frodsham to Manchester last Saturday (10th). The train was 2 carriages long and dangerously overcrowded when I got on at Frodsham - a situation which got steadily worse en-route. I, and many others were packed into the space between the doors with no way of supporting ourselves against the movement of the train and at great risk of invading others' personal space. A complaint was made from a passenger to a station operative at Bank Quay. Further on in the journey there were unpleasant exchanges between people on the train and those on the platform wishing to embark. A very 'British' cameraderie developed in our group as we prepared to 'repel all boarders' at each station.
    Whilst we made the best of a bad job - I feel very short-changed by Arriva. The service was woefully inadequate for the demand. I was told by some of the regular sufferers on the train that the situation was usual - but I'm sure Arriva could have anticipated extra demand on a Saturday 2 weeks before Christmas at the very least! Very poor show! I will consider all alternatives before I use that service again.

  • 3 Customer Relations responded to Andy Shuker close 15:22 14 Dec 2011
    Thank you for contacting Arriva Trains Wales. Your message has
    been received and assigned the reference number  ATW-111213-BDJ.

    Our usual target response time is ten working days, and we aim
    to provide you with a full reply within this timescale. If you
    have any queries in connection with your case, then please
    contact us on 08456 061 660. We're open between 8am and 8pm
    Mondays to Saturdays, or 11am until 8pm on Sundays.

    Please note that our role is primarily to investigate and
    respond to comments, complaints and suggestions regarding Arriva
    Trains Wales services. If you are planning a journey and need to
    find out times and fares, or to check if there is any disruption
    to services, please visit [1]www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk
    or [2]www.nationalrail.co.uk.

    Yours Sincerely

    Customer Relations

    Arriva Trains Wales 

    Diolch am gysylltu â Threnau Arriva Cymru. Mae’ch neges wedi
    cael ei derbyn a rhoddwyd iddi’r rhif cyfeirnod ATW-111213-BDJ.

    Deg diwrnod gwaith yw’r amser ymateb rydym yn anelu ato fel
    arfer, a’n nod yw rhoi ateb llawn i chi cyn pen y cyfnod hwn. Os
    oes gennych unrhyw ymholiadau ynglŷn â’ch achos, cysylltwch â ni
    ar 08456 061 660. Rydym ar agor rhwng 8am ac 8pm o ddydd Llun i
    ddydd Sadwrn, neu rhwng 11am ac 8pm ar ddyddiau Sul.

    Nodwch mai ein swyddogaeth yn bennaf yw ymchwilio ac ymateb i
    sylwadau, cwynion ac awgrymiadau am wasanaethau Trenau Arriva
    Cymru. Os ydych chi’n cynllunio taith ac angen cael amserau a
    chostau tocynnau, neu holi a oes unrhyw darfu ar wasanaethau,
    ewch i [3]www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk
    neu [4]www.nationalrail.co.uk.

    Yn gywir

    Cysylltiadau Cwsmeriaid

    Trenau Arriva Cymru

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    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/
    2. http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
    3. http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/
    4. http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
  • 4 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 11:41 15 Dec 2011

    Sorry to hear about the overcrowded journey. It's a pity that there wasn't more British courtesy rather than British camaraderie.

    Unfortunately not your operator, but London Midland provide information about which services are busy (although of course this will only help for a 'normal' day, and not for things like busy Christmas shopping days, football matches, and when another train has been cancelled).
    http://www.londonmidland.com/your-journey/finding-a-seat/
    The information shows the number of carriages on each service, and how busy the service normally is. London Midland are very proactive publishing information such as this and they also announce on the day when trains are going to be run with less carriages than usual. This is a good example of what the rest of the rail industry could do.
    Unfortunately passenger loading figures are in general treated as commercially sensitive and are not published for the public to see, although the train operators and the Department for Transport do have this information.

    I am just a rail user and not associated with Arriva Trains Wales.

    anorak
    admin
  • 5 Customer Relations responded to Andy Shuker close 09:35 20 Dec 2011
    Link: [1]File-List
    Link: [2]Edit-Time-Data
    Link: [3]themeData
    Link: [4]colorSchemeMapping

    20 December 2011

    Your Case Reference: ATW-111213-BDJ

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Thank you for your e-mail which has been received via
    FixmyTransport.com.

    Receiving feedback from our customers is important to us, and I
    am grateful for you taking time to report these issues. However,
    we would ask any customer wishing to log an issue with us to
    make direct contact with us, rather than submit it to us via a
    third party.

    Our e-mail address is
    [email address].

    We look forward to hearing from you in due course.

    Yours sincerely

    Mark Davies

    Customer Relations Advisor

    Arriva Trains Wales

    Tel 0845 6061 660

    E-mail [email address]

    Web www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk

    Address St MaryÂ’s House, 47 Penarth Road, Cardiff, CF10 5DJ

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    References

    Visible links
    1. file:///tmp/ccda9f44-892f-47ba-8f50-e2d2e2acad77_files/filelist.xml
    2. file:///tmp/ccda9f44-892f-47ba-8f50-e2d2e2acad77_files/editdata.mso
    3. file:///tmp/ccda9f44-892f-47ba-8f50-e2d2e2acad77_files/themedata.thmx
    4. file:///tmp/ccda9f44-892f-47ba-8f50-e2d2e2acad77_files/colorschememapping.xml
  • 6 Myf Nixon commented close 10:41 20 Dec 2011

    Hello Andy,

    I see Arriva Trains Wales have asked you not to use FixMyTransport for correspondence.

    We believe there is no good reason for an operator not to engage with its customers through the site, so our advice would be to write back (using the yellow 'email' button at the top of this page) and say that this is your preferred method of communication.

    However if you prefer to follow their own guidelines and take communication offline, please do come back and update us on any progress you've made. This way there will be a public record, plus a chance for others to add their support and discuss the issue.

    Arriva's email address is customer.services@arrivatrainswales.co.uk.

    Good luck!

    anorak
    admin
  • 7 Andy Shuker commented close 14:01 26 Jan 2012

    Arriva refused to act on any approach by 'Fix my Transport' and insisted I submit the complaint direct to them. I then received an e-mail (surprisingly quickly) from a customer relations advisor stating that customers would prefer to stand in crowded conditions on trains rather than not get on the train at all - obviously (and deliberately) missing the point that I want them to do something about it rather than tell me why I should put up with it! They also stated that over-crowded trains do not pose a health and safety risk and that there is no fixed capacity limit. So, basically, 'suck it up' and be pleased that we are not in india - or you might find yourself clinging to the roof on the outside before something gets done about it. For my £17.50 fare I am entitled to nothing more than the right to ride the train if I can manage to fight my way on and find an air-pocket to keep me alive. Great Britain!

  • 8 Myf Nixon advised Andy to write to Campaign for Better Transport. close 14:56 26 Jan 2012

    Oh my goodness! Thank you for updating this page - it is very interesting to hear what the response is that Arriva were so keen should not be conveyed via FixMyTransport.

    I am sorry you did not receive a satisfactory resolution. I'm going to suggest that you drop a line tothe Campaign for Better Transport, who'll be able to tell you if there are any active campaigns running in the Manchester area, which you might be able to join and/or ask for support in this issue. No obligation, of course, but it is one way to progress.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 9 Thomas J. Wheeler commented close 10:48 18 Apr 2012

    I'm not in the area, so I'm only supporting this to receive notifications of anyone responding to my comments.

    Solving overcrowding in Britain, unless you are fortunate enough to be on an electrified route, is generally said to be impossible since there are no spare diesel multiple units out there (there isn't much electric stock spare either, but there is some).

    However, a few years ago Arriva Trains Wales did something almost no other train operator has, they purchased some rolling stock (most trains in this country are leased). This rolling stock consists of 18 mark 2 coaches for haulage behind locomotives. I've heard however that one of those responsible for buying the stock was fired, and the stock wasn't used and has instead been left to rot. The Welsh Assembly government has since provided funding to set up an express service between Holyhead and Cardiff, for which six of the coaches were restored to servicable condition. These six are due to be replaced with leased mark3 coaches this year.

    Now, there are lots of complications with operating locomotive-hauled trains these days, particularly in Wales. However, my opinion is that (since using at least some of the 18 mark2s Arriva own is the only way of introducing additonal services and easing overcrowded) the ATW mark 2s should be put to use.

    However, there are others who say they shouldn't be used to replace the two/three coach class 175 trains since they do not have powered doors or disability-accessible toilets, features the 175s provide. The class 175 is a rather flawed design in my opinion, there is no corridor connection on the end of the unit so if you couple two together to make a longer train passengers, guard and refresment trolley can't walk between the two units, and there aren't any spare anyway.

    So, let's start a debate, should provision for passengers with disabilities be comprimised to enable 4/5 coach trains of mark 2 coaches to replace 2/3 coach class 175s and enable those 175s to be used to introduce additional services?

  • 10 Pat Reynolds commented close 20:06 18 Apr 2012

    That is a very interesting point, Thomas.

    I am probably revealing my stupidity by asking why a wheelchair-accessible coach (with wheelchair-accessible toilet) cannot be part of a train with more coaches.

    Or cannot swapsies be done with other trains/lines/companies so that everyone can get on the train?

    I think that the priority has to be for _everyone_ to be able to use the train (it is public transport, not some-of-the-public transport). This is particularly important for people with disabilities, who may not be able to afford to run a car (people with disabilities tend to be poorer than average) or not legally allowed to drive, and thus rely more on public transport than non-disabled people (on average). So one might point at another group, who are less likely to suffer from not being allowed on the train, and say that _they_ can't travel ...

  • 11 Thomas J. Wheeler commented close 00:12 19 Apr 2012

    Overcrowding is everywhere, so no operator is likely to swap trains unless they get at least as many carriages as they give away.

    Arriva Trains Wales will not introduce extra stock without additional subsidy from the Welsh Government, so unless it can be done quite cheaply it isn't going to happen.

    Arriva Trains Wales' only trains with accessible toilets are:
    - 16x class 175 3-car units
    - 11x class 175 2-car units and
    - 24x class 158 2-car units

    Most of their other stock has a wheelchair space onboard but no accessible toilet.

    There are no spare 175s, ATW use them all. Even if there were more, attaching two together wouldn’t work very well, since there would be no connection between them for passengers and staff to get between one half of the train and the other.

    There aren’t really any spare class 158s either. However it appears that ATW are planning on using up the slack (of about 4 units) they have in their class 150 fleet to move pretty much all the class 158s onto the Aberystwyth/Pwllheli – Birmingham – Holyhead route to lengthen services. That means passengers on other class 158 routes will instead have class 150s, which are woefully inappropriate (they have a suburban door arrangement, fewer seats and very little legroom) for most class 158 operated services.

    So now we have two problems, continued overcrowding on the routes that aren’t getting longer trains AND inappropriate class 150 stock working its way onto long-distance services. More to the point, these problems have to be solved cheaply and as quickly as possible. The rolling stock I suggest using, since ATW actually own it (no leasing costs) should be cheaper to run than any of the other stored rolling stock.

    A light refurbishment will however probably be required to make this stock fit for service, and at the same time it should be possible to provide one or two wheelchair spaces in some of the coaches (though this is slam-door stock, so disabled persons are likely to require assistance from the train staff to board and alight). However, I expect adding an accessible toilet would make this a far more expensive refurbishment, and since the stock does not have power-doors it will never be fully accessible and will have to be withdrawn by 2020. The whole idea of using these old carriages is as a stop-gap measure to provide extra capacity and get class 150 units off services they are not suitable for until Wales is cascaded some more 158s. I'd be very supprised if that can happen before mid-2015.

    A class 175 provides two wheelchair spaces, an accessible loo and 121 seats (189 for a 3-car unit). A class 150 provides around 116 seats and 1 wheelchair space but no disabled toilet. A locomotive-hauled slam-door train with three coaches would provide around 148 seats or 212 for a 4-carriage rake. If two class 175 workings could be replaced with a 4-coach loco-hauled set, the two 175s could be used to replace two class 150 workings. By advertising which trains are operated by the loco-hauled set passengers requiring a disabled toilet could avoid those services. When 150s replace 175s at the moment due to the shortage I believe there is no such advanced warning.

  • 12 Thomas J. Wheeler commented close 00:32 31 Mar 2013

    Well, how things change. I have been temporarily employed in greater Manchester, and so I have experienced Arriva Trains Wals (ATW) serve Manchester. I travel home at weekends, using ATW between Aberystwyth and Manchester Piccadilly, (changing train at Shrewsbury).

    I believe the Llandudno - Manchester workings are mostly, if not exclusively, diagramed for 3-car 175s (I think there is one train which is a 4-car class 158 formation). However, on the south-Wales to Manchester route, which I use between Shrewsbury and Manchester, there is a mixture of 2-car and 3-car class 175s on weekdays. Even the 3-car ones struggle sometimes, and the 15:30 out of Manchester on Fridays, which seems to be one of the 2-car diagrams, is ffull and standing before it gets to Crewe and onto Shrewsbury (and I doubt it gets much better after that).

    Extra capacity is certainly needed, but as I said before it's a very difficult to solve since nobody* is buying diesel passenger trains for the UK anymore, due to uncertainly whether electrification will be installed and make these assets redundant, and the only spare diesel stock is loco-hauled (which is difficult to use). Anyone here good at business cases? If we can get enough benifits from the cost of activating ATW's loco-hauled mark2 fleet, maybe it'll actually happen.

    Introducing a 4-coach train of mark2s on one of the busiest 3-car 175 services would release that 3-car 175 to replace a 2-car one elesewhere, double the capacity boost. On top of that, you could use that 2-car 175 to replace a 2-car class 150, and the 150 could be used to strengthen a train in the ValleyLines or introduce additional services somewhere (Cardiff - Cheltenham perhaps?)

    * except the DfT (Department For Transport, otherwise known as DaFT), who are ordering diesel Intercity trains for the Great Western Main Line, despite the fact we know that is being electrified, whereas alot of ATW's routes are a long way down any electrification priority list.

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  • started 13 December 2011
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Train route between Frodsham and Manchester Piccadilly operated by Arriva Trains Wales
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