Government Suggests Hiding Trains to Beat Overcrowding

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Department for Transport has hit upon a genius method of solving some patches of train overcrowding. It is not more trains. It is not longer trains. It is not making trains worse so people would rather walk 14 miles in the rain or buy a car. It is, incredibly, hiding packed trains from the public so they can't and don't get on.

That's the thinking outlined in a consultation paper published by the DfT, which says that it might be a clever idea to stop incoming overloaded trains being displayed on platform display countdowns, leaving people on the platforms unclear where the arriving train is going and less likely to get on it. Hence the train sails in, unannounced, drops off a few sweaty people, then pulls away again as baffled commuters waiting on the platform look at the displays and their phones for help.

Regional stations on the CrossCountry network could be the first in line to try this idea, where only passengers with an encyclopedic knowledge of their specific timetable would know where the just-arriving train is heading. The DfT consultation paper admits this might be difficult to enforce, though, as there are only so many places that combine mass overcrowding with skippable edge-of-town stops. [The Times]