One to increase capacity on diesel fleet

REGIONAL train operator One is to invest £450,000 to increase the seating capacity on its fleet of Class 170 diesel trains, which operate from London to Lowestoft and Peterborough.

REGIONAL train operator One is to invest £450,000 to increase the seating capacity on its fleet of Class 170 diesel trains, which operate from London to Lowestoft and Peterborough.

The eight multiple-unit sets, each consisting of three carriages, are also to be fitted with an upgraded passenger information system, improved internal door controls and some new carpeting.

The trains, which also operate on some rural routes in Suffolk and Norfolk, were introduced by Anglia Railways - One's predecessor in East Anglia - in 1999 and were configured to match, as closely as possible, its main-line coaching stock.

However, as a result of growth in passenger numbers since regular through services from Liverpool Street to Lowestoft and Peterborough were launched in December 2004, One has decided to refurbish the stock in order to increase capacity.

The original buffet areas - which have not been used for some time - will be replaced with additional Standard Class seating, with capacity to be increased further by reducing the First Class area which, despite rapid growth in Standard Class passengers, is under-used on most services.

As a result, the number of First Class seats per train will fall from 29 to seven while seating for Standard Class passengers will increase from 139 to 185 - a net increase of 24 seats.

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The First Class area will be marked with the traditional yellow band on the exterior livery of the train to more easily identify the First Class seating for passengers when boarding.

Clive Morris, One's business director for rural routes, said: “I am pleased that the increase in Standard Class seating will help more passengers to find a seat on the direct services from Lowestoft and Peterborough to London, and the work to reconfigure the seating also reflects customer feedback received since the introduction of the direct London services.”

The modification of the Class 170 fleet is due for completion during the spring. The work is being carried out at One's maintenance depot at Crown Point, Norwich, by Bombardier Transportation, from which it leases the units.