Northern rail has sparked fury after half-term beachgoers were rammed into carriages heaving with maskless passengers, photographs obtained exclusively by MailOnline revealed.
The photographs emerged today after hundreds of holidaymakers travelling on the rail line to and from Blackpool were left with little option but to cram into oversubscribed carriages earlier this week.
Christopher Crabb, 23, from Doncaster, was travelling on a service from Blackpool to York with his partner and their five-month-old daughter yesterday when they were forced to stand in a corner of the train by the toilet.
He described feeling ‘like cattle’, adding that his partner Laura Purdy, 29, had to balance on a slope in order to breastfeed.
Two images show how three pushchairs squeezed into the disabled area of the carriage, as families ignored coronavirus rules – which call for masks to be worn while onboard public transport as well as social distancing.
Those few who were wearing masks pulled the coverings down below their nose and mouth, and Mr Crabb said rail staff did not try to enforce the rule.
Christopher Crabb, 23, was travelling on a service from Blackpool to York (pictured) with his partner and their five-month-old on Sunday when they were forced to stand in a corner of the train by the toilet
Out of the crowds of people on board, very few appeared to be wearing a face mask, and Mr Crabb said train conductors did not ask anyone to put a face covering on
Mr Crabb, a community worker, suffered a seizure as the stress of the journey triggered his emotional epilepsy.
He said when he complained to staff about the lack of available seating, he was shown to the disabled area, which was next to the toilet. He added: ‘People were barging past us constantly. It would have been better to sit in the toilets – there was more space in there.’
When Mr Crabb came around from his seizure he said he felt ’embarrassed’ because there were so many people ‘staring’ at him. He revealed a stranger had to grab his daughter from his partner so she could look after him.
‘I just hit the deck,’ he added. ‘There were so many people and I get really embarrassed with it. I came round and people were staring at me.’
In response to another passenger’s complaint over Twitter, Northern rail said: ‘We are unable to stop anyone from travelling it is each customer’s decision if they would like to board a busy service.’
It comes after Blackpool Council urged people to remember the existing Covid rules and to ‘enjoy yourselves safely’ as temperatures soared this week.
Warm weather sent many families crowding to the beach to make the most of time off during half-term.
On Tuesday, 78F (25.7C) was recorded at Heathrow Airport, making it the hottest day of 2021 so far and beating a temperature of 77.2F (25.1C) that was recorded at Kinlochewe in the Scottish Highlands on Monday.
But the warmer weather has led to a number of overcrowded train services.
Video taken on Saturday by one furious traveller showed few passengers wearing masks on a crowded train to the seaside town.
Jaimes Moore posted video footage of a crowded service from Blackburn to Blackpool at 12.21pm on Tuesday.
He wrote: ‘bang up job of social distancing on the 12.21 Blackburn to Blackpool… no staff to stop folk piling on or to ask for masks to be worn…. Utterly ridiculous.’
One photograph shared on Twitter showed crowds cramming in train doorways. The caption read: ‘The fact that people are still being allowed on even though there is no seats, the aisles are full, no one can move people are blocking the doors so the doors keep faulting as well’
Another woman who complained on Twitter said: ‘One route to Manchester airport… crowding around doors and in aisles. Gotta love an overcrowded train during a pandemic.’
Of another service, a man said: ‘Glad I didn’t buy a Ticket for @northernassist from Carnforth to Lancaster, train is packed worst than I’ve ever seen it. Pretty sure this is a breach of Covid guidelines?’
Another man said: ‘Your travel safe officers are doing nothing. Train from Blackpool South to Preston absolutely packed, no distancing, many people not wearing masks and your guys not enforcing anything. Why did I bother buying a ticket….’
In contrast, passengers on London North Eastern Railway (LNER) must have a seat reservation in order to travel, which allows the operator to safely enforce social distancing.
MailOnline has contacted Northern rail for comment.