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Greater Anglia to scrap first class seats on trains in 2020

Greater Anglia is getting rid of first class carriages on most of its services.

The rail operator says the move will reduce overcrowding when the change is made in January 2020.

Intercity services between Liverpool Street and Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich will still have first class seating.

Greater Anglia will also be bringing in brand new trains from the middle of next year. They will have more seats, USB and plug points, air conditioning, free wifi and tables for most seats.

The operator says customers’ key priorities are a safe, punctual and reliable service with a seat.

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.

“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.”

Greater Anglia is announcing the change now so that 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.

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