Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
On overcrowding - 1076/3051
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Monday, 15th January 2007

As I understand it, the law specifies the maximum number of passengers who can travel on a bus or coach.  Ferries are limited to a fixed capacity, and airlines to the number of passengers who can be seated, with some exceptions for babes in arms. Even fairground rides .....

I don't know of any legal limit / capacity restriction on trains, and suspect there isn't one.  Is this for historic reasons, because it would be impractical to enforce such a limit, or because there isn't thought to be a safe limit?

Re: On overcrowding - 1076/3057
Written by Steve35 on Monday, 15th January 2007

I'm not aware of any legal limit. There are PIXC limits (Passengers in Excess of Capacity) which are used for franchise monitoring purposes (not sure if used for all TOCs or just those serving London) but as you say, how would you enforce a legal limit? Assuming no extra trains were forthcoming from FGW/DfT you'd end up turning more passengers away than currently - if you could somehow prevent them from boarding the train. They'd probably just force their way on anyway and understandably so if the next train is in an hour's time. And it's hardly fair asking the train Conductor to be the equivalent of a bouncer.
I think the only way to enforce a legal limit would be to have a 'no standing' rule combined with compulsary seat reservations. But seat reservations aren't practical for commuters who don't always know what train they're going to be getting. And what do you do when a train gets cancelled and the passengers have to try squeeze onto the next train. "Sorry we've exceeded the legal limit. You're not allowed on". Sounds like a recipe for a riot...

On a related theme the calls for train passengers to wear seat belts come up against similar problems. By definition any standing passengers wouldn't have a seat belt. If they were involved in a train accident you can bet that some of them would try to sue the train company for not providing them with a seat belt. In order to head off this possibility the train companies would have to run 'no standing' trains and the only way to do that is to have compulsary seat reservations. Possibly acceptable on Intercity journies but certainly not on local commuter trains.

Legal limits for standing passengers? The phrase "don't go there" springs to mind.

Re: On overcrowding - 1076/3066
Written by Ruthg on Monday, 15th January 2007

Funnily enough, at the end of last week I was on the 06.47 from Frome when its brakes suddenly came on as we passed through a signal. After checking the brakes at Westbury it was alarming to here the conductor telling new standing passengers from Trowbridge onwards, that should the brakes suddenly come on again, could they grab hold of something.  ::)

Re: On overcrowding - 1076/3077
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 16th January 2007

Thanks, Steve and Ruth.  I guess the answer is ... (b) - it would be impractical.  Reasons / logic noted and agreed, effect on the two-many standees' safety also noted. But still many times safer than going by road

link to index of articles

Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.

Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.

The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.

We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.

-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021

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