Examination of Witnesses (Questions 200
MONDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2000
(Mr Grant) Off-peak-ish, travelling a bit before and
a bit after the peak.
201. It is certainly not the intention to price
people off by raising it?
(Mr Grant) That is certainly not the intention, no,
that is right.
202. That cuts off a whole line I was going
to follow up. In terms of overcrowding can I go back to this question
of what people think they are buying. Perhaps I naively assume
that when I travel by rail, and I travel long distances rather
than travelling short journeys, it is reasonable for people travelling,
say, from Glasgow or Edinburgh to assume that when they are buying
a ticket what they are buying is a seat and the ability to travel
(Mr Grant) Mr Jenner will give you the exact conditions
of carriage. Today I think when people book their ticket they
book a seat, they reserve a seat, because there is generally no
reservation fee, so they expect to get the two together. I think
the conditions of carriage are slightly different.
(Mr Jenner) Legally there is no guarantee of a seat.
203. I do not want lawyer-speak, I want a bit
of honesty, if you understand the distinction between these two
terms. I understand that it might be acceptable to have people
standing on a 15 minute journey but do you regard it as acceptable
to have the capacity on the Glasgow to London line to include
a considerable number of people standing all the time? Is that
the basis on which your plans are being drawn up and the capacity
(Mr Grant) I cannot give you an exact answer, maybe
we can come back and answer this. On the East Coast Main Line
franchise I would look for the train plan to include a considerable
increase in capacity. We would also expect to see that the train
operating companies would make sure that their pricing allowed
204. This is a somewhat circuitous route. What
I am asking you is is your plan for running such as the Glasgow-London,
Edinburgh-London, on the basis that people are going to have to
stand for that journey? It is a yes or no question. You are either
planning for people to have to stand or you are not planning for
people to have to stand.
(Mr Grant) I cannot answer the question directly,
I have not got the information.
205. If you have not got the information just
now that implies there is an answer, so presumably you can let
me have that answer subsequently. You can understand why we are
concerned. When you are calculating overcrowding, there are obviously
degrees of overcrowding and presumably there is a planned overcrowding
so to speak. Presumably there are safety limits in carriages.
Do you involve yourself at all in calculating what the safety
limits for particular carriages are and in policing those limits?
(Mr Grant) That is a matter for the Health and Safety
Executive, the actual issue of people standing and safety limits.
Going forward, what we are encouraging, and you will have seen
it in the report, is a more accurate measure of how many people
are on the train.
206. If a train is being overfilled beyond the
safety limits, would that incur fines?
(Mr Grant) Not as it currently stands, no.
207. You get penalised for being late but you
do not get penalised for being dangerously overfull.
(Mr Grant) I am not sure that it is dangerous because
if it was dangerous the HSE would not allow it.
208. How many times have you seen men or women
from the HSE on the trains?
(Mr Grant) I cannot answer that.
209. I do not know of any specific example where
the HSE Inspectorate have taken people off a train because they
reckoned the carriage was overfull. Is that correct?
(Mr Grant) I agree with you, not to my knowledge.
210. So, in fact, there is no sanction applied
about having a train and there is no policing, no monitoring,
that it is overfull on the basis of safety, so there is no incentive
of any sort for companies not to just ram-jam people in beyond
(Mr Grant) There are incentives because we do the
passenger count and when we find overcrowding then we ask the
train company to provide us with a plan of how they are going
to address that overcrowding.
211. That will terrify them, will it not?
(Mr Grant) It has produced results and the report
212. So on how many occasions has there been
dangerous overcrowding of trains? You obviously know this because
you have taken steps as a result of that. On how many occasions
has that taken place?
(Mr Grant) I just have to check the figures.
213. If you have got figures, unless you have
got them to hand, the list of occasions that they have been dangerously
(Mr Grant) Sorry, dangerously overcrowded is not a
classification because dangerously overcrowded, as you put it,
would be a matter for the HSE.
214. And the HSE in turn do not monitor that
and do not put people off trains to stop them being dangerous,
so you do not know.
(Mr Grant) We know how many people, through our passenger
counts, are on the trains. In future we will have a more accurate
picture through the weighing machines.
215. It is possible for you, by your overcrowding
figures, to assess how many people go by train and you will have
in the structure presumably somewhere what the limits are for
the HSE about overcrowding. Have you not compared these to see
whether or not there were any occasions when they were dangerously
(Mr Grant) I am not sure that there are HSE limits
on train overcrowding.
216. You told me that there were and that was
the point I was making earlier on, whether or not trains were
overfull to a dangerous level, and you indicated that was an issue
for the HSE.
(Mr Grant) The number of people and whether it is
dangerous is a matter for the HSE.
217. Right, and they do not tell you what the
level is, that is a secret figure, is it?
(Mr Grant) I do not know the answer to that but we
can certainly look at it.
Chairman: We will have a note on it telling
us (1) whether they check it and (2) what the levels are and (3)
what the inspection figure is.
218. Can I ask you specifically how many rail
companies have been fined for overcrowding and who are the worst
offenders? If that information is available then it might be helpful
to have it as a note rather than taking up time to read it out.
I wonder if I could just turn to the point that Mr Jenner made
in response to Mr Love that did surprise me rather. We were discussing
the question of trains missing stations to make up time and I
think your answer, which was rather surprising, was that you have
heard it happens. I am somewhat surprised because I would have
thought that was something you would actually monitor in some
way. Do you rely simply on anecdote to hear when those sorts of
things occur or is there some sort of monitoring system? Is there
a rule that says trains that sell tickets to stations should not
run past them?
(Mr Jenner) They should not do. It does get picked
up in our monitoring system. If they do it enough they will be
penalised in the incentive regime.
219. If they do it enough. So you can get away
with a fair number of running past stations but you only get penalised
if you do it beyond a certain level. That seems a bit soft, does
(Mr Jenner) It depends on the particular regime and
where they are in relation to the benchmark.
3 Note: See Evidence, Appendix 1, page 24.
(PAC 2000-2001/52). Back