Yesterday Transport 2000 re-started their "Sardine Man" campaign to highlight some of the most overcrowded train journeys in England & Wales. They aim to encourage the Government to increase capacity and relieve congestion on the railways. I'd to see him pressed up against commuters on the Tube.
The Top Ten (with percentages of over capacity) only included one route into London so all of you out of towners have my sympathy if any of these are part of your daily commute:
1. Durham to Newcastle (7:59 train): 88% 2. Cambridge to London Liverpool Street (8:02 train): 85% 3. Eccleston Park to Liverpool Lime Street (7:53 train): 85% 4. Cardiff to Maesteg (17:21 train): 78% 5. Humphrey Park to Manchester Oxford Road (8:14 train): 75% 6. Morpeth to Newcastle (8:00 train): 58% 7. Barnsley to Leeds (7:31 train): 57% 8. Sheffield to Leeds (7:14 train): 53% 9. Sutton to Luton (16:33 train): 50% 10. Northampton to Birmingham New Street (7:00 train): 45%
As a number of animals (or non humans) are blogging now (pigeons & dogs), it's no surprise to see that SardineMan has his own blog. His entry for the 26th March has a surprising start:
"It's Monday morning. It's 8:30am and like millions of Britons I've not long wiped the scales from my eyes, so I can be forgiven for being a bit bleary. But casting another fish-eyed look over the carriage confirms what I first suspected – there are empty seats on this train!
Wait a second... this train's EMPTY!
Does that mean my one-fish odyssey across Britain’s most crowded rail routes is over before it's begun?"
But we learn that he's headed out of London and is studying trains that are "off lease" and have been shunted into storage:
"If trains on commuter routes in the South East are packed, what's all this rolling stock doing in the sidings? Shouldn't it be out there getting used by the train operators so that there's more space available on trains? The idea of rows and rows of empty carriages lying idle just seemed ridiculous.......
As I survey the carriages glinting in the spring sunshine all I can think about is those poor, unfortunate commuters I saw this morning. I'm sure they’d have appreciated a few extra carriages on their train.
I head for a hostelry nearby and order up a pint of Coddingtons with a Skipjack Daniels to chase. Yes, yes it's only mid-morning but us fish have to keep well-oiled – and I need to sit down and figure this out!
I am Sardine Man – hear me bore!."
He then goes on to explain "no growth franchises" which train operators received in the nineties in the rest of his blog post. Watch out for his next post and if you're on any the overcrowded routes see if you get a picture.