Grand Central apologises after overcrowding on service to Hartlepool and Sunderland

Grand Central has apologised after overrowding on one of its services from London to Hartlepool and Sunderland.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 11:00 am
A Grand Central train.

Adam Smith was one of the passengers on the 11.27am from Kings’s Cross and said problems were clear before passengers even got on-board: “It was obvious when we got on the platform,” he said.

“There were massive queues to get on the train and when I got to First Class, the vestibules and aisles were rammed,” said Adam, who paid £98 for his return ticket.

“The driver or guard announced First Class had been declassified – I couldn’t hear why.

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“People had bought tickets in advance but when they got on board, their reserved seats had disappeared. I had reservations in First Class but a lady and child are in my seat as her reserved seats had been double booked.

“Everybody has got their Christmas luggage with them – it will be a problem if they need to be evacuated.”

A company spokesperson said: “We are really sorry to hear our customers experienced discomfort. We understand when services are busy, it can impact on enjoyment of the journey.

“Our priority is transporting customers comfortably. We have staff on board to ensure the needs of customers are attended to.

“Over the festive period, trains and travel in general will be busy and we have been working hard to notify people of the latest advice and the need for a reservation.

“We strongly advise customers to check our website ahead of travelling, follow us on Twitter or speak to staff at manned stations for the latest travel updates.

“Customer safety is paramount in the rail industry and it is Grand Central’s number one priority. We would not run services which would put passenger safety at risk.”

“The rail industry operates a complicated booking system, which multiple train operators and retailers all use. At particularly busy times, the system can experience glitches, which occasionally can result in double bookings.

“We would like to reassure passengers that this is a rare occurrence. We apologise to any customers affected and advise them to contact our customer relations team at [email protected]