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Rail company apologises after Martin Lewis complaint about ’19th century conditions’

A railway company has apologised after broadcaster Martin Lewis complained about the “disgraceful” service on a packed train from London St Pancras to Sheffield with one working toilet.

The consumer affairs journalist, known as the Money Saving Expert, voiced his outrage on social media about the overcrowded train, which he estimated was carrying around 500 passengers.

Every seat and standing space was occupied with passengers forced to sit in train corridors, Mr Lewis wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, in a post viewed more than four million times.

“I guess 500 people on it and only one working toilet at one end, so people must crawl over each 100s to reach it.

“It’s degrading, like something from the 19th century,” he wrote.

Mr Lewis said he had to “apologise profusely” as he tried to make his way to the toilet – with several passengers urging him to make a public statement about the problem.

He later added: “PS it seems I may owe an apology to the 19th century – many saying trains then were efficient, on time and luxury.”

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East Midlands Railway (EMR) issued an apology hours after Mr Lewis shared the post on Monday afternoon.

The company blamed “network upgrades” for an influx of passengers, posting on X: “We are really sorry about your experience this afternoon.

“Vital infrastructure upgrades on the East Coast Mainline have resulted in a very large number of customers trying to travel with us rather than using the available rail replacement bus connections.

“We have strengthened services as much as possible and increased the number of staff to help manage this situation but clearly it has not worked as well as we would have liked, and we will work hard with the wider industry to learn from this.”

But some passengers suggested the railway company should have anticipated problems due to the planned works.

Many shared their own experience of “appalling conditions” at St Pancras – including former MP, Anna Soubury, who described the situation as “total chaos”.

One suggested there were “thousands” rammed into the London station.

Another passenger said: “I was on this yesterday with wife and 2 children (aged 8 and aged 5) and forced to sit on floor next to door and the toilet. I had paid and reserved seating too. Also advised at ticket office I would get seated…which didn’t happen.”

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EMR later posted that it had experienced “higher customer numbers than usual travelling in and out of St Pancras” on Monday and expected this to continue on Tuesday.

Another post warned that services on routes to and from St Pancras are expected to be “busier than usual” due to engineering works and urged people to check before they travel.

The work is expected to finish on Tuesday night, with normal service expected to resume from tomorrow, a spokesperson posted on X.

On Tuesday, Mr Lewis described the response to his post as “staggering” and urged voters to raise the disruption with their prospective MP during campaigning for the general election.

Sky News Source