Voodoo ergonomics

While fully sympathising with the thrust of this debate about train provision in Brockley started by Brockley Kate, we look at the squashed faces of our fellow commuters in a different way. The crush is a symptom of success, not failure.

Train services have definitely become more crowded in the last few years - just as they were forecast to. Those who've lived in Brockley longer than us remember the days not so long ago when few people would board or disembark a train at Brockley Station.

These new commuters reflect the changing demographics of the area, encouraged by the imminent arrival of the East London Line. As we said here, it is their spending power which will drive the ongoing regeneration of Brockley long-term. And, lest we forget, they are us. Brockley Nick and Brockley Kate are both relative newcomers who've added to the strain on train carriage space. We did so in-part because we knew a new tube was on its way.

Changes to train timetables take ages to plan and implement. Even in the most positive scenario, we couldn't expect new trains to be scheduled before next summer, by which time, we'll have a lovely new tube service which will deliver a massive capacity boost on the line.

Until then, what option do we have other than to sit tight or travel to one of the several other stations within fairly close reach (St John's, Ladywell, Nunhead, New Cross, Crofton Park, Lewisham)? Kate suggested an alternative to more frequent services - more carriages. We agree that this would help on the evening services, but the morning trains aren't going to get any longer.

There is a third way we can think of. That is to substitute the older carriages for more modern ones. The difference in capacity between two similarly-sized trains is astonishing. The old trains, with their narrow doorways, extra seats and perspex walls allow very few people to stand. The newer designs are a joy - wide doorways and plenty of standing room offer the Brockley commuter a completely different experience. If new carriages can't be purchased and delivered quickly, then our old carriages could be swapped with newer ones elsewhere in the network, where crushes are not a regular occurrence.