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Greater Anglia suspends seat reservations while new trains enter service

PUBLISHED: 15:09 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:09 01 May 2019

Greater Anglia is still awaiting its first new Intercity train - but it will be similar to this Stansted Express train that arrived recently in the UK. 
Picture: GREATER ANGLIA/NICK STRUGNELL

Greater Anglia is still awaiting its first new Intercity train - but it will be similar to this Stansted Express train that arrived recently in the UK. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA/NICK STRUGNELL

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Greater Anglia is to suspend seat reservations on its Intercity trains for at least six months from July - as it prepares to introduce its new fleet.

Current Intercity trains will be phased out once the new trains enter service later this year. Stock Image.Current Intercity trains will be phased out once the new trains enter service later this year. Stock Image.

It will not be possible to reserve a seat from July 13 because the company does not know at this stage when the new trains will start to be phased in.

None of the new Intercity trains have yet reached the UK – and once they do arrive they will need to undergo extensive testing before passengers are allowed to use them.

They are very different to the existing Intercity trains made up of an electric locomotive, carriages and a driving trailer with guard's area.

The company said there will be a period of time when both old and new trains will be running, but with different seating reservation systems so it is taking the step to prevent confusion or misunderstandings for passengers.

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New trains are currently being put through rigorous safety and performance tests, with the first expected to come into service this summer – although no specific date has been set yet.

The July 13 date was chosen to ensure enough notice was given – but a spokeswoman for the company said there was no guarantee the new trains would enter service by then.

Tickets such as Greater Anglia's advance fares can still be purchased, and a specific train time selected.

Greater Anglia's Business Readiness Director, Andrew Goodrum, said, “The new trains coming into service is really exciting, but we wanted to avoid any mix ups with reservations while the two fleets are swapped over.

“For example, if a passenger reserved their seat in advance, the reservation would be made for a seat in one of the current older trains. By the time they travel, this could have been swapped to one of the new trains, where all the seats will be different, meaning that they would not be able to find their reservation.

“The new trains are much longer than our existing fleet so getting a seat during the transition won't be a problem.

“Once the old trains are removed from service our seat reservations system will be reinstated, but during the transition phase people will be able to get used to the new trains and familiarise themselves with the layout.”

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