Greater Anglia announces no more first class for regional routes
PUBLISHED: 09:11 22 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:26 22 December 2019
Customers using regional routes in Norfolk will not be able to travel first class next year following the introduction of longer trains.
Greater Anglia is no longer selling first class tickets for journeys on regional routes across the network and aims to have all new trains in place by September.
New trains with more seats have replaced older models on the Norwich to Cambridge and Ipswich to Cambridge routes and will shortly start running on the Ipswich to Peterborough line.
First class tickets on other routes across the network will remain on sale until 6 September 2020, from when they will only be available on the intercity route between Norwich and London.
The trains are part of the currently-delayed Bombardier fleet which have been delayed until spring.
Earlier this month it was revealed the new trains would take longer than originally expected due to software problems.
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The fleet of 111 will be either five or ten carriages long with more seats as well as USB and plug points, faster WiFi and passenger information screens.
By September 6, Greater Anglia hopes the Bombardier models should have replaced many older electric trains which run between Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street.
From September, first class seating will only be available between Norwich and London on the intercity trains made by Swiss manufacturer, Stadler.
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.
"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."
First class seating will be "declassified" on any existing old trains still on the network from September 6.
The company said customers who are first class annual season ticket-holders will be able to change over to a standard class season ticket at any time without financial penalty.