Martin Gilbert hit out after travelling on the packed West Midlands service at the weekend after his Avanti train from Rugby to Liverpool Lime Street had been cancelled.
A shocked commuter has branded a train service the “Covid Express” because of the high number of commuters not wearing face masks.
Martin Gilbert hit out after travelling on the packed service after his Avanti train from Rugby to Liverpool Lime Street had been cancelled.
The 67-year-old shared footage of the service after having to catch a West Midlands train and change at Crewe, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Retired train driver Martin was shocked when he boarded the connection as it was extremely crowded, and many passengers were not wearing masks – despite new restrictions coming in.
The video shows that the carriage was full, with all of the seats taken and passengers standing in the aisles.
Many people can be seen not wearing a face covering, which are now mandatory on public transport unless people are exempt.
West Midlands Trains bosses have described the images of people without masks as “disappointing”.
Martin told the Echo the service from Crewe was very busy due to the Liverpool FC match at Anfield against Aston Villa on Saturday and due to cancellations.
He claims despite the train being full, it still stopped at every station from Crewe to Lime Street and people still tried “squeezing on the train”, with many not wearing masks.
Martin said: “It was like a Japanese rush hour train where you had to push people on and they were still stopping at all the stations going to Liverpool and people were trying to get on, it was unbelievable.
“People couldn’t get on and they were squeezing to get on the train and people weren’t wearing masks that’s the thing.”
The retired train driver said the journey was “so uncomfortable” due to it being full and many people not adhering to face covering rules.
He added: “We’re in an age of covid where we are trying to self distance and it was so uncomfortable.
“It was like a covid express train and people were still trying to get on the train, even at the next station at Acton Bridge and further along the line.”
Face masks had already been made compulsory in environments such as shops and public transport on November 28.
On Friday, December 10, Boris Johnson made this a requirement in more venues.
The UK Covid-19 threat level also increased to Level 4 due to the spread of the Omicron covid variant.
This means transmission of covid is “high or rising exponentially”.
In an address to the nation on Sunday night, the Prime Minister urged everyone eligible to “get boosted now”, as the Omicron strain of the virus spreads in the UK.
He claimed everybody aged 18 and over will have the chance to get their booster before the New Year, bringing the previous target of boosting all adults by the end of January forward by an entire month.
Speaking on Sunday night, he also urged people to “not make the mistake of thinking Omicron can’t hurt you”.
The PM added: “At this point our scientists cannot say if it is any less severe, and even if that were true a wave of Omicron… could lead to many deaths.”
A spokesperson for West Midlands Trains said: “Face coverings are once again, mandatory on all public transport, unless you have an exemption. It is disappointing when those who can choose not to wear a face covering which serves to protect everyone on the train.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.