A senior lecturer who commutes to his job at the university two to three times a week hit out at East Midlands Railway’s constantly overcrowded train service between Lincoln and Leicester.
Amir Badiee lives in Loughborough and for the past seven years has been commuting to his job at the University of Lincoln. Since taking on his latest role as a senior lecturer in engineering around two years ago, he thinks the train service has got worse.
The 38-year-old normally boards the 7.04am train from Loughborough which takes around an hour and a half, saying from Newark onwards it is “absolutely crazy”. Amir’s return journey, normally at around 4.30pm or 5.30pm is “usually packed, especially during term time when it increases significantly.”
Amir says the morning service from Leicester arrives in Lincoln at 8.36am, along with other arrivals, and there is "always a long queue". Photo: Amir Badiee
Amir said he has tried to complain to EMR in the past, including via email in March, without success. His complaint focused on the 5.32pm service from Lincoln to Leicester, which he describes as “the busiest I have ever experienced”.
He believes extra carriages are required to solve the problem, saying that as train tickets get more expensive, no improvement is being made on the services.
In his complaint to EMR in March he said: “People do not pay for their tickets to stand their whole journey. Your passengers deserve the respect that they are deprived of.”
Amir said: “Over the past two years, the consistent issues plaguing this service have become increasingly unacceptable.
“The trains are persistently overcrowded, forcing passengers to stand for the majority of the journey, and the inadequate ventilation poses a serious risk to the well-being of passengers.
“When you can sit down it is a little bit easier, but when you have to stand it’s unbearable and everyone pushes each other to get on the train.
“Instead of investing in an additional carriage, they have increased the number of safety officers to organise people. There has been some improvement, but not addressed the root cause of the problem.”
Amir says the 5.32pm service from Lincoln to Leicester is “the busiest service I have ever experienced”. Photo: Amir Badiee
He says the 5.32pm train is often “packed” with people sometimes standing until Nottingham. Photo: Amir Badiee
On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, Amir was due to get the earlier 4.34pm service from Lincoln to Leicester, and already had a ticket when he arrived at the station 10 minutes before departure.
“Shockingly, I was denied boarding due to the train’s full capacity,” he said.
“It is disheartening to observe that EMR is fully aware of the chronic overcrowding issue on this service, but continues to sell tickets without providing any warning to passengers or implementing measures to ensure their ability to board.
“The annoying bit was I already had a ticket and it shouldn’t let me buy one if there isn’t going to be space.”
On this day, and after he was not allowed to board the train, Amir complained to the station staff and safety officers and waited an hour for the next train, causing him to miss an evening class in Loughborough.
Amir has endured frustrating train commutes for two years. Photo: Amir Badiee
He added: “The disregard for passenger concerns, coupled with the failure to address the persistently overcrowded conditions, is utterly appalling.
“I feel my rights as a customer have been blatantly ignored, adding to my overall disappointment.”
An East Midlands Railway spokesperson said: “We are aware of the popularity of our regional service between Lincoln and Leicester, especially during peak times. With this in mind, we are currently working through plans to understand how an increase in capacity on the line could work.
“However, any increase is reliant on available rolling stock and funding.”
When asked for his thoughts on EMR’s response, Amir said: "Another carriage is the solution and safety officers encouraged me and other passengers to complain.
“This isn’t something that happened yesterday, it’s been two years that the problem has been ongoing for.”