Double-decker trains to reduce rail congestion?

CRAMPED MP Penny Mordaunt has campaigned for more room on trains to London.     Picture: Solent News
CRAMPED MP Penny Mordaunt has campaigned for more room on trains to London. Picture: Solent News
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DOUBLE-DECKER trains could be used to help cut overcrowding between Portsmouth and London.

The line between Portsmouth and London Waterloo could be run using ‘bi-level’ carriages, which are designed to carry many more passengers than the current cramped trains used between the stations.

The idea is under consideration as part of Network Rail’s Rail Utilisation Strategy, which aims to set train policy for the next 20 years.

The document reveals the capacity of trains will fall 6,000 seats short of user demand in rush hour by 2031.

It offers two main possibilities to increase capacity – double-decker trains or increasing the number of carriages on services from 10 to 16.

Portsmouth City Councillor Jason Fazackarley is a member of Transport for South Hampshire, which has been asked to reply to the report’s suggestions.

He said: ‘Funding is an issue, but we are very happy to be talking about ways we can make life easier and better for people travelling between here and London.

‘I’ve never been on a double-decker train but we’re all open to the idea.’

Double-decker trains are used in many European countries, but the last in England was on the Dartford-Cannon Street line in 1971.

The RUS hasn’t carried out any financial research on the cost of introducing the new trains.

But because work including lowering tracks through tunnels would be necessary, it warns: ‘Extensive gauging works would be required... which would be extremely disruptive and expensive.’

It also suggests introducing 16 carriage trains on the route, but adds: ‘Sixteen-car platforms... would involve extensive signalling and track layout changes.’

Portsmouth North Tory MP Penny Mordaunt has been campaigning to increase space on trains between Portsmouth and London.

She led a parliamentary debate on the issue early this year.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Whether the solution is double-decker or longer trains, it’s not just the number of seats, but their size that’s important.

‘We want to encourage people to use trains as it’s a good environmentally-friendly option.’

She added: ‘Comfort and availability of seats are vital to that’