Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Named: 229 Stations Where Commuters Go Unprotected; MAKE OUR RAIL STATIONS SAFE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Named: 229 Stations Where Commuters Go Unprotected; MAKE OUR RAIL STATIONS SAFE

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN PRYNN;DICK MURRAY;ROSS LYDALL

OUR MAP of unmanned stations highlights the dangers facing commuters and travellers as they return at night.

Research by the Evening Standard shows that 229 stations are not guaranteed to have ticket or platform staff on the premises throughout the working week.

This amounts to two-thirds of stations in the London region. The vast majority are small suburban stations used by countless commuters travelling to and from work in central London every weekday.

More than 30 stations are never manned, dozens more only in the morning peak or until lunchtime.

After dark, even stations in some of the more desirable parts of London can seem forbidding to lone travellers.

The areas of London where you are least likely to encounter a train company employee at night are often those most notorious for high levels of crime.

They include Silverlink stations such as Harlesden, parts of south London such as Streatham and Eltham and east London crime hotspots including Hackney. One stretch of the Silverlink network - through Tottenham, Walthamstow and Leytonstone - has eight unmanned stations on the trot. The most heavily staffed major London franchise - also its most profitable - is South West Trains. Apart from the major terminals such as Waterloo, it has round-the-clock staffing at Feltham, Putney, Raynes Park, Staines, Surbiton, Sutton and Wimbledon.

Staffing levels at stations are agreed as part of the franchise deals between private companies and the Department for Transport.

However, the Mayor, who takes control of his first overground franchise - Silverlink - in April next year, has made it clear that future London franchise bids will have to include a commitment to staffing at all stations during the hours of the timetable. This will bring the overground in line with the practice on the Tube.

Ken Livingstone is hoping a multimillion-pound investment in one of London's worst railways will kickstart a wider transformation of suburban trains. …

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