First class scrapped on most Greater Anglia services as new trains arrive
- Credit: Greater Anglia
First class travel has been discontinued on all Greater Anglia's eastern lines out of Liverpool Street station - except Intercity trains from the capital to Ipswich, Colchester and Norwich.
The new Aventra suburban trains that are starting to come into service on suburban trains to Essex and as far as Ipswich were designed as standard-class only, as are the Stadler bimodes used on regional lines in Suffolk, Norfolk and on the Sudbury branch to Marks Tey.
Once all Greater Anglia's new trains are delivered the Intercity trains will be the only ones to have First Class seating. Eventually West Anglia trains from Liverpool Street to Cambridge will become standard-class only, but the new trains will not be introduced there until the end of this year so First Class remains for the next few months.
Any customer with a First Class season ticket on one of the affected routes can change it over to a Standard Class ticket without penalty or apply for a full refund.
Anyone who has purchased a First Class ticket for travel on or after 2 January on one of the affected routes is entitled to a full refund of the difference between the First Class fare and the equivalent Standard Class ticket without an administration fee.
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Martin Moran, Greater Anglia’s commercial director, said: “Our new trains are longer with more seats and all mod cons including fast free wifi, air conditioning and plug and USB points.
“Passengers who have used them have even told us it was like travelling first class as the standard was so much higher than the trains they have replaced.
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“When we ordered our new suburban trains, in 2016, customers told us one of their top priorities was to get a seat, so we designed the new trains to have more seats. By not including First Class seating areas, we were able to fit in more seats for everyone.”
Meanwhile Network Rail starts a series of weekend line closures on the main line to London which will see trains replaced by buses for part of the journey every weekend until February 21.
As that will be covered by lockdown when the instruction is not to travel unless absolutely vital, few people should be affected - but anyone travelling by train at weekends should check with Greater Anglia before making their journey.