A passengers’ group recently came out to complain about what they termed ‘dangerous conditions’ with overcrowding at London Victoria and the Network Rail has this week responded by saying it would never put passengers at risk.
The Association of British Commuters (ABC) claimed that the work to extend the area around platforms 15 to 19, which is for trains coming and going to Sussex, may have been postponed to save money. However, the delay plus the busy nature of the station during rush hour means the decision could lead to a disaster. Network Rail has however countered the argument and stated that the work being done wasn’t to improve safety but to improve journeys and that they would never endanger the lives of passengers.
The statement from ABC had been released on June 20 and it contained comments supposedly made by a Network Rail manager who wanted to remain anonymous. The manager’s identity hasn’t been disclosed and as such the comments haven’t been verified yet. According to the comments by the alleged manager from Network Rail, the ticket gates for passengers using platforms 15 to 19 weren’t enough and this meant there was a great potential for an accident in the future. The source also alleged that the gate-line had been scheduled for a rebuild which was supposed to have been completed between 2014 and 2019 but this had been pushed forward to 2019-2024 so as to save money.
The manager had apparently also told ABC that passengers were sometimes queuing for as long as five minutes at the ticket gates during rush hour and this was raising concerns on whether passengers could be evacuated in case of an emergency. Platform 19 was the biggest concern according to the claims since the concourse there is as narrow as 6ft in certain places. The manager had apparently told ABC that they have to do as much as possible to ensure the busier services from the coast don’t end up on platform 19 because there was a real risk of them getting prosecuted if passengers were to be injured.
These claims come in the wake of several incidents on the network that resulted in crowding when passengers were heading home on Monday, June 19. A spokesperson from Network Rail has refuted the allegations and stated that the London Victoria station was safe for the passengers, despite growing numbers of people using electric scooters to help with their commute, which is causing friction due to limit space.