First class will come to end on most Greater Anglia trains from January 2020
After listening to customer feedback, assessing increases in passenger numbers and the rail network capacity, Greater Anglia removes first-class seats.
Greater Anglia has announced that extra train seats will be available for everyone from 2 January 2020, when the company is ending first class on all services except intercity trains.
Every train is going to be replaced with brand new state-of-the-art longer trains from the middle of 2019. Only the new intercity trains, which run between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London, will have first-class seating.
All other trains on commuter and regional routes will have standard-class seating only.
Martin Moran, Greater Anglia Commercial and Customer Services Director, said: “With the combination of withdrawing first class and our new longer trains, we can provide about 20 per cent more standard seats across our network, which will reduce overcrowding and improve our customers’ experience of travelling with us.”
Research by consumer organisations, and Greater Anglia, has shown that customers’ key priorities are a safe, punctual and reliable service with a seat. As passenger numbers are predicted to increase with region growth, the best way to meet growing demand for train seats is to only provide standard seating on all routes except the longer intercity service.
The new trains will include USB and plug points, air conditioning, fast free Wi-Fi and either tables or seat-back tables for most seats. Designed using feedback from customers and stakeholders, these vehicles will come into service from the middle of 2019 to the end of 2020.
First-class accommodation will be ‘declassified’ on existing trains from 2 January 2020, on all trains except for Intercity services.
Key services where only standard seating will be available from January 2020 will be Clacton to London, suburban services from Manningtree/Colchester to London – Intercity services will still offer first class, Braintree/Witham to London, Chelmsford to London – hourly off peak intercity services will offer first class, Southend Victoria to London, Cambridge to London via Bishops Stortford, Stansted Airport to London, Harlow to London and Hertford East to London.
Martin added: “We’re committed to transforming rail services for our customers with the introduction of our new trains.
“By only retaining first-class seating on our new intercity trains, we can offer a much better service, provide many more seats and reduce overcrowding on our suburban and Stansted Express services in and out of London, delivering a far better service for thousands of passengers.
“By 2 January 2020, the phasing in of our new trains will be well underway, so it is a sensible time to withdraw first class from our suburban services.
“After listening to customer feedback, assessing the ongoing increases in passenger numbers and taking account the rail network capacity, we’re taking this step to give the majority of our customers a much-improved service and advising everyone well in advance of the date from which the new policy will apply.”