Northampton MP says busy train 'is now dangerous'

A long-standing problem with over-crowding on a London-bound commuter train from Northampton looks no closer to being solved despite complaints from passengers.

Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South, criticised the "totally unacceptable quality of service" on the 9.05am service in a letter to train operator London Midland yesterday after a lack of response to his three previous letters on the subject.

The MP wrote: "The four-carriage train you provide for that service is standing-room only when it leaves Milton Keynes and packed to the point where it is endangering customer's safety by the time it leaves Leighton Buzzard.

I believe you are now endangering life and limb by packing this train in the way you are and I repeat, that is totally unacceptable.

"It is my belief that your timetabling is in such disarray as to mean that you have not got the carriages required to extend this train by adding additional carriages which would clearly solve the problem."

Mr Binley said he was "so concerned" by the train operator's alleged lack of response that he would raise the matter in the House of Commons if he did not get a satisfactory answer.

A spokesman for London Midland said the operator did not have enough carriages, and to put another carriage on the 9.05am service would mean taking one away from the 7.03am train.

Carriages have already been added to this train to cope with demand following the removal of Virgin's 7.12am service in December.

He said whether the company was allowed to buy more carriages was subject to Department for Transport (DfT) approval, and would be reviewed in May.

He added: "Without extra carriages the only way to do it is to take them off other services. It's a horrible expression but we would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

"We are aware that it's an issue."