Our role in relation to station and train crowding


Crowding on trains and at stations is common and we need to make sure railway companies protect passengers from any health and safety risks when it happens. 

We oversee several obligations that companies have to their customers, including making sure the railway is accessible for all. We are responsible for making sure passengers are protected by railway companies from any health and safety risks, such as crowding, which we take very seriously. Where safety risks from crowding are being well managed and operators are meeting their obligations to customers, we do not have the powers to take further action.

While there isn't much evidence of a direct passenger health and safety risk from overcrowding, there are indications that it can increase the risk of fainting and 'slips trips and falls'. Passengers can also feel stressed, anxious or vulnerable in crowds. Anyone with visible or non-visible disabilities, older people or those travelling with young children can experience these negative effects more.

Our position statement sets out our view on crowding, including our expectations of rail operators. We are looking closely at how railway companies plan to reduce the health and safety risks connected to crowding. We are also focussing on the effectiveness of operators' plans for, and management of, events such as sporting fixtures or large festivals which can make crowding worse. We also expect operators to fully consider the impact of crowding on disabled people and people with reduced mobility.

Please find ORR’s latest advice and guidance with respect to coronavirus on the relevant section of our website.

Who monitors crowding?

The Department for Transport (DfT) monitors the levels of crowding and publishes details about top 10 most crowded train services. They expect train companies to plan their timetables to accommodate passengers throughout morning and evening peak periods.

DfT's contact details
Public enquiries
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 4DR
Tel: 0300 330 3000
Contact DfT using their online form