Britain’s trains are the most overcrowded since records began, with the worst routes carrying double their passenger capacity, according to analysis by the Labour party.
Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said overcrowding on railways was a “national disgrace”, with the top 10 most packed train lines on average carrying 190% of their capacity – an increase of almost a third since 2011.
“It will come as little surprise to long-suffering commuters to hear that overcrowding on trains has reached record levels, but the bad news is that it’s set to get even worse,” he said.
Figures released last week by the Department for Transport found the most overcrowded route was the 7.16am Southern service from East Grinstead to London Bridge, which packed more than 1,300 people on to a train designed to carry 640 passengers.
Labour warned that if such trends continued then the top 10 most crowded peak train routes would be more than 225% over capacity within the next five years.
Some of the worst routes would involve travel out of Blackfriars in London, with 20% travelling on overcrowded services, and from King’s Cross, with almost 10% on overcrowded trains by the end of this parliament.
“At the current rate some of the most vital commuter routes in the country will be appallingly cramped by the end of this parliament,” McDonald said.
“Nobody should have to suffer being crammed into dangerously full carriages as part of their daily commute, but under the Tories passengers face this prospect, paying through the nose for the dubious privilege of being crammed into ever-fuller trains.
“With fares up by 27% since 2010 and [last month’s] cancellation of promised electrification across England and Wales, it’s clear that passengers are paying more for less under the Tories.”
Labour has promised to transform UK railways by taking the network into public ownership and creating a new body to have oversight of the whole system.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Rail passenger journeys have more than doubled in the last 20 years. We are committed to improving journeys and we are delivering more trains, more seats and quicker journeys to meet this record demand. We are investing £40bn in our railways and by the end of 2019 we will have more than 3,700 new carriages on the network.
“We know some passengers have not received the service they deserve, and we continue to work with the industry to cut journey times and crowding, improve reliability and deliver more frequent services.”