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Hundreds of commuters crammed into Flinders Street Station yesterday, forcing trains to pull into packed platforms and leading to calls for more trains to cope with surging passenger numbers.
Upfield passenger Lachlan MacDowall said he feared someone would be seriously injured as people flooded into the station just before 5pm.
Dr MacDowall, a program coordinator at the Victorian College of Arts, said he was greeted by a sea of people waiting at the city station as the afternoon peak-hour rush coupled with rainy weather drove a larger than normal commuter crowd on to platforms four and five.
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"I tried to make it down to the platform and just thought I'd push through but the level of people there was scary," he said.
"You had the sense that at any moment someone could start to push and things could have become more dangerous. It's very concerning when trains are arriving on platforms."
Dr MacDowall has written to Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky, who is currently on leave, about the "dangerously overcrowded" platforms.
The Age was awaiting a State Government response at the time of publication.
Dr MacDowall said there was no direction given by Connex staff to stop entering the platform, which had become blocked by commuters.
"It was really frightening. I pushed my way through and went back up the exit straight away," he said.
"There was no way I wanted to be down on the platform with that number of people. There were more people just standing on the escalators waiting for it to clear."
He said when he spoke with a Connex customer service worker this morning he was told it was an infrastructure issue and therefore the State Government's problem.
But Connex spokeswoman Lanie Harris said the transport operator took full responsibility for passenger safety and would investigate the overcrowded platforms.
She said yesterday's severe weather conditions had played havoc with the train network, with high winds and power outages causing delays and cancellations.
"We take this matter seriously and will investigate the full circumstances," she said.
Ms Harris said extra Connex staff were employed during peak-hour to help direct the flow of passengers while cameras monitored platforms to ensure trains could depart safely.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Vaughan Williams said Connex staff should have stopped people from piling on to the platforms, but more services were needed to ensure large crowds were not left waiting for trains in the first place.
Overcrowding had become an increasingly common problem as too few trains struggled to cope with growing passenger numbers, Mr Williams said.
State Government figures released last month showed the number of trips on trains in metropolitan Melbourne jumped by nearly 13% in the past financial year, while the number of new train services grew just 2.4% in 18 months.
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