§ Lord Hampton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are satisfied that investment in British Rail rolling stock is sufficient to prevent dangerous overcrowding on certain Sprinter coaches, particularly at Bank holiday weekends, and that the exits are adequate for evacuation in case of accident.
§ Viscount Davidson
BR have invested over £190 million (1989–90 prices) in the Sprinter units already in service. A further £155 million has been invested in units due to come into service next year. During the summer we announced new quality of service objectives for BR's provincial services covering, inter alia, train loadings. It is for BR to bring forward proposals for further investment in rolling stock if it is needed to meet these objectives. Overcrowding is uncomfortable, but there is no evidence to suggest that it is in itself dangerous. In the event of an accident, other than fire, the adequacy of exits is not critical; it is best for passengers to await evacuation by railway staff or the emergency services. There have been no fatalities from fires on passenger trains during the past 10 years.