Complaints about crowding on trains should be addressed to the train operating company concerned first. The train operator has a duty to respond to your concerns, explaining what went wrong and what they are doing to improve matters. If you remain dissatisfied you should contact Passenger Focus or London TravelWatch as appropriate.
We do not decide on the number of trains or carriages, stopping patterns or timetabling on Britain’s railways. These are matters for the train operating companies who must meet the obligations agreed with the Department for Transport in their franchise agreement.
As the health and safety authority for Britain’s railways, we are responsible for ensuring railway companies protect passengers from any health safety risks caused by crowded trains and infrastructure.
There is no legal limit on the number of passengers that can travel on a train. In this, trains differ from other modes of transport – most notably buses and aeroplanes which limit numbers due to operational stability problems. The heavy engineering involved, means that trains are designed to operate effectively and safely even when they are loaded to maximum capacity.
However, there are some specific situations, such as emergency evacuations, where we take a close interest in ensuring rail operators have plans to adequately manage the risks – see our main crowding on trains section.
Despite being uncomfortable, and at times making passengers feel unsafe, there is no conclusive evidence linking crowding on trains with anything other than low level health and safety risks to individual passengers. If, however, you feel that we should be aware of a particular crowding issue, please contact our Customer Correspondence Team with details. Your correspondence will be passed to our relevant safety team.
For further information please visit our section on crowding on trains or read our health and safety policy position on on-train crowding ( PDF 44 Kb).
You may also be interested in published data on peak crowding and passenger demand.
Last updated: February 2013