First-class train travel scrapped on some of the busiest routes to create space

First-class travel is being scrapped on some of the busiest rail routes to help ease overcrowding.

Greater Anglia said first class will disappear from all trains except intercity services and said it would be bringing in longer trains from the end of next year.

The operator, which carries more than 80 million passengers a year, said it would provide 20% more standard seats on services into London from Cambridge, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Hertfordshire.

Martin Moran, of Greater Anglia, said the plan aimed to “reduce overcrowding and improve our customers’ experience”.

Only new intercity trains between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London will have first-class seating.

Southeastern is expected to phase out first class under a franchise deal next year. The first operator to scrap it was Chiltern Railways 15 years ago.

Figures show that 169,207 passengers a day could not get a seat on trains into 14 cities in England and Wales last year.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said standing was a “total pain”.

Watchdog Passenger Focus said: “It’s frustrating to see first class half-empty.”

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