More standard seats on Greater Anglia trains as First Class to end on most trains from January 2020
Extra seats will be available for everyone on Greater Anglia trains from 2 January 2020, when the train company is ending first class on all services except intercity trains.
Greater Anglia is replacing every single train with brand new state-of-the-art longer trains from the middle of next year. 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 as the region grows, 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 all be longer with more seats, USB and plug points, air conditioning, fast free wifi and either tables or seat-back tables for most seats. They were designed using feedback from customers and stakeholders.
New trains will come into service from the middle of next year 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.
Greater Anglia is announcing the change now, so that all passengers, including annual season ticket holders, have more than a year’s notice of the change.
The company has written to all first class annual season ticket holders to inform them about the new policy, with details of how to swap a first class ticket for a standard ticket near the time.
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 Moran, 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 over-crowding 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.
“Our new trains will also offer a higher quality travelling environment, making rail an excellent option right across our network.”