Southeastern are adding 5,000 additional seats to morning peak services to London as part of carriage rise
PUBLISHED: 00:01 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:01 18 September 2017
Up to 68 carriages have been brought in from Thameslink and Southern services
Passengers travelling on board Southeastern services will see new carriages during peak services over the coming months.
From today (Monday) the first 16 carriages will be intoduced, as the company looks to add 68 extra carriages by November.
The carriages, which were previously used by Thameslink and Southern services, are expected to bring more than 5,000 additional seats for Londonbound passengers during the morning rush hour.
In July Southeastern came joint-third-bottom in a survey on overall passenger satisfaction, but 10 per cent more passengers were happier with the service than a year ago.
As part of the introduction, the number of carriages on peak Maidstone East services is expected to double as well as offering air conditioning.
On the Hayes, Bexleyheath, Woolwich, Sidcup, Bromley South and Grove Park lines, passengers will see a number of peak-time trains lengthened from eight to ten carriages while some six-car trains will lengthen to eight.
David Statham, managing director of the rail firm said: “Longer trains will mean more seats, more space and more comfortable journeys.
“Some of these carriages will be deployed this week and we are looking forward to introducing the rest over the coming weeks.”
With the rail franchise set to change hands in December 2018, the Department for Transport is expected to begin accepting contract offers from five bidders, including Southeastern’s owners, Govia, once a formal announcement is made this month.
Paul Maynard, rail minister, said: “We are committed to getting passengers across the country more comfortable, reliable and efficient journeys that they want. Today’s announcement will see an extra 5,000 seats for passengers on Southeastern on services into London in the morning rush hour period – bringing immediate benefits to many commuters.”
Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said: “Kent MPs have been campaigning for more carriages and pressing ministers to deliver increased capacity on trains. Today’s announcement is a welcome first step in the right direction.
“Yet more work is needed to ensure fewer trains in Kent are delayed, to get two fast services to Deal every hour and see Dover to London in 60 minutes or less.
“There needs to be more investment in high speed services and better frequency of east Kent trains at peak hours.
“People pay a lot of money to travel on these trains. The least they can expect for their money is a seat.”
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson added: “These extra carriages should make a noticeable difference for Dartford’s commuters. Around a third of peak time trains will be longer as a consequence of this announcement and they will be added between now and November.”