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DfT proposes scrapping first class rail carriages in Southeast England

Southeastern 1st classThe Department for Transport (DfT) has released a proposal which could see first-class train carriages in Southeastern England consigned to history. In a consultation paper relating to the subject, the DfT says abolishing first class on lines from East Sussex and Kent to London would free up space and reduce overcrowding at peak commuter travel times.

The document explains that passengers still utilise first class carriages on services from London to Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells, but others are under-used. The paper asks people who travel on Southeastern network services whether they would be willing to give up first class so that trains can accommodate more passengers.

European Rail Timetable editor Chris Woodcock noted London St Pancras to Ashford trains only had one class and scrapping them on all other trains would ensure all passengers got the same standard of service. The Campaign for Better Transport’s Lianna Etkind said it would be a good move.

Ms Etkind said it was annoying for travellers to be packed into second-class carriages like cattle and then walk past a first-class one with hardly any people in it. She carried on by saying that trains with more room would encourage drivers to swap their cars for the train.

The paper says carriages could be revamped to suburban train specifications with extra standing room and seats, wider access doors and space to stash pushchairs and wheelchairs. If the proposal gets the go ahead, the number of carriages on trains which stop at multiple stations en route could be increased too.

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