No more first class tickets on many Greater Anglia trains across the region
- Credit: Archant
Greater Anglia has officially abolished first class tickets in its rural and cross-country trains across the region.
The new Stadler bimode trains, which are now forming the majority of these trains, were built as single-class carriages - so now only standard class tickets are available.
This affects all trains north of Ipswich apart from the Intercity services to Norwich, which will be the company's only trains with first class seats by the end of the year. First class tickets on suburban routes across the network will remain on sale until September 6 next year.
By September, Greater Anglia's new Bombardier Aventra trains should have replaced many older electric trains which run between Essex, Cambridge, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street.
The new Aventras, which are all either five or ten carriages long with many more seats than the company's existing trains, do not have first class seating areas. The first is expected to go into passenger service during the spring.
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Bombardier has ramped up production at its Derby factory, after production of the Aventras has taken longer than it originally expected, which has had a knock-on effect on scheduled introduction. None have yet been delivered to Greater Anglia, although some are running on London Overground services.
First class seating will be "declassified" on any existing old trains still on the network from September 6. First class annual season ticket-holders will be able to change over to a standard class season ticket at any time without financial penalty.
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Martin Moran, Greater Anglia commercial, customer service and train presentation director, said: "After listening to customer feedback and analysing growing passenger numbers and railway capacity, we've taken this step to make journeys better for the vast majority of our customers.
"Our new trains are all longer and more modern than our old trains. They have more seats, USB and plug points, free fast wifi and better passenger information screens, creating a better travelling experience for everyone.
"We planned to bring in these changes across the network from January 2020, but since we have more of our old electric trains on the network than predicted, we've pushed it back until we expect to have a large number of new trains in passenger service."