More trains put on to avoid repeat of Brighton Pride crowd chaos

Train bosses are putting on extra services to avoid a repeat of the chaos experienced by revellers trying to make it home after Brighton Pride last year.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Sussex Police came under fire when thousands were stranded after some 57,000 people turned out to watch Britney Spears headline the south coast event in August.

Some spent the night on the beach when they could not get home and the council opened up a building so people could take refuge.

Others reported “scary” scenes at Brighton railway station including people finding themselves “crushed” against the gates which were shut by police in a bid to control crowds safely as they tried to get on trains.

Crowds of people at Brighton railway station following Brighton Pride last year
Crowds of people at Brighton railway station following Brighton Pride last year

At the time, event organisers said they were “appalled” to see visitors stranded because of “insufficient train services” and expressed disappointment with train operators as pictures surfaced showing hundreds of people waiting to try and get onto the platforms.

But on Wednesday the event’s managing director Paul Kemp said he was “extremely heartened” by GTR’s plan to lay on extra train services.

Kylie Minogue, who is headlining this year’s event on August 3 supported by Clean Bandit, said she “can’t wait” to take part.

The Australian star is expected to draw similar crowd numbers as she sings some of her biggest hits during her first ever full UK Pride performance.

Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue

GTR said it would be running extra trains late into the night with capacity for 10,000 extra passengers into London after 10.30pm.

Trains will run through the night right into the Sunday morning timetable, according to National Rail Enquiries.

All except one train will be longer than normal full-length 12 carriage services and there will be a better queuing system in place at Brighton station, GTR said.

A company spokesman added: “This is always a popular event and people will have to wait but by increasing the capacity on our trains they will not have to queue for so long.”

Police previously said lessons would be learned from the chaos and future plans would be reviewed.

The force has been contacted but not yet revealed how their approach to marshalling crowds at this year’s event will change.