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Overcrowded or just the wrong train?

10 February 2012

I needed to get up to Milton Keynes earlier this week.  I wanted to avoid using the Tube and tryout a service.
I also wanted to get a seat so I could get some work done, so I caught the 8.28 direct service from Balham to Milton Keynes.  I was expecting a sleepy service, loads of space, seat with table, etc.  Hmmm, only a four-car train turned up. Odd how passengers were bunched in tight groups on platform plus couldn’t believe how many of them there were.
Train arrives. Four-car train laid out with seating in twos around tables and cramped areas around doors. Ideal for longer distance journeys, but this was clearly going to be metro crush. I managed to get suitcase and me on, but it just got worse. More people squeezed on at Wandsworth Town and Clapham Junction. Where on earth are they all going? Shepherd’s Bush – Westfield has clearly boosted this useful route. With the right train layout (like the Overground trains) this might have been bearable, but this really was grim.
Will check with Southern what their plans are.

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