Yate trains to get extra carriages
Bristol Evening Post: October 28, 2011
Extra carriages on trains serving Yate station have been welcomed – but the pressure will remain to get even more at one of the busiest times of the day.
Six trains stopping at the station on weekdays will have an extra carriage – two of them heading to Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol during the morning rush hour.
For one commuter train, it means there will be four carriages from December – twice as many as the service used to provide two years ago.
A campaign by users and local MP Steve Webb to tackle overcrowding saw an increase to three carriages in December 2009. Now the service that departs at about 8.10am will have even more room.
But the Friends of Yate Station have questioned why the afternoon trains arriving between 3pm and 5pm will have more rolling stock when later services bringing commuters home will not.
Trains with standing room only have been a problem for years, with one of the services most complained about being the train that leaves Temple Meads at about 5.40pm.
The Friends said some trains were so full that some people could not get on at all and they have been lobbying rail operator First Great Western (FGW) to provide more carriages for years.
But the Department for Transport decides how much rolling stock to allocate and FGW had to make a bid for more capacity. The extra carriages for Yate services were announced as part of an increase for the whole Bristol area.
Mr Webb, the MP for Thornbury and Yate, said despite problems with the evening trains, he received most complaints about morning services.
He said: "The main commuter time in the morning is compressed so it's good news that there will be more space on those early peak-time trains.
"Overall, come December, it will make a huge difference. We can make the case for more capacity in the evening rush hour later.
"This is something we've been gnawing away at for some time and we had success with the extra carriage on the 8.10am service. Having four carriages on that train will be an improvement."
The Friends group said it was worried that an assessment of passenger use from Yate was not accurate, making a difference when it came to deciding which trains needed to be bigger.
Passengers can only buy tickets from a staff member at the station at certain times and with no ticket machine available, they have to pay on the train.
But on short, busy trips, the conductor often does not get to everyone and if there is also no one to pay at the destination station, passengers travel for free.
Meanwhile, efforts by the Friends have led to the installation of CCTV cameras at the station.
Chairwoman Sue Walker said: "We welcome them but now want to make sure the cameras cover all the areas of concern."