Train overcrowding anger - children forced to sit on floor next to ‘smelly’ toilet
PUBLISHED: 07:30 24 February 2020
A Suffolk mum has hit out at Greater Anglia over train overcrowding, after her three children had to sit on the floor next to a smelly toilet.
Sally Liddle, from Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds, took Evie, 11, Sebastian, 10, and Florence, seven, to London for the day as a half-term treat.
They enjoyed visiting attractions including the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum. However, the journey from Liverpool Street to Ipswich on the 7pm train on Friday spoilt the family's outing.
"The train was very crowded, and we couldn't find anywhere to sit, so the children had to squeeze in next to the toilet," Mrs Liddle said. "The floor was dirty and it really smelt every time the toilet door opened."
She said Florence had been nervous about going to London in the first place, and was upset by adults constantly pushing past her to go to the loo.
"I don't think she would be willing to go to London on the train again."
The mum, a trainee teacher at St Edmund's Roman Catholic Primary School in Bury, had decided to take a trip to London after seeing ads for day trips on the train.
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"We thought it would be a nice thing to do," she said. The family booked their tickets online, at a cost of around £50. They had to say which trains they would be travelling on, so Mrs Liddle thought this would mean they had seats.
However, she claims the train conductor told them their tickets only entitled them to travel from A to B, and not to sit down.
"I asked the conductor if he could put out an announcement asking people to move bags and coats off seats, but he didn't want to do that," she said.
"We could see there were only a few people in first class, but he didn't even offer that we could pay extra to go in there. I just feel let down and we were just completely dismissed.
"At the time, I was very upset, because of the children, but I do realise that a lot of people have to go through this on a daily basis."
The family's train into London was also delayed by 30 minutes. However, their trains between Bury and Ipswich were new and comfortable.
She has complained to Greater Anglia about the overcrowding and delay, and is currently waiting for responses.
A Greater Anglia spokesman said, "We are very sorry to hear about the problems Sally and her family encountered when travelling with us. The customer service they received is not in line with the standards we would expect and we will take steps internally to address how they were treated. We would like to apologise unreservedly for their experience."
"We are in the process of replacing all our trains with brand new ones. Unfortunately, during this transition period, seat reservations are not currently available, but once the transition is complete the new trains will help to ease problems with overcrowding as they offer a lot more seats and a much better on board environment, and seat reservations will be reinstated."