No More First Class Carriages, says Department for Transport

Passengers in King's Cross station
Passengers study the departure boards as they wait for trains in King's Cross Station in London, December 23, 2013. First class carriages could be axed on busy peak-time trains to reduce overcrowding, the Department for Transport announced this week. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

First-class carriages could be cut on commuter trains across the U.K. in an effort to reduce overcrowding. The Department for Transport (DfT) proposed changes in the provision of first and second class carriages as part of a consultation on the West Coast Mainline. The measures may be implemented when the new franchise for the line is awarded in 2018.

Passengers should also be advised to "travel at quieter times" the DfT said. Train operators should also contemplate skipping stations in smaller cities, such as Crewe and Wigan, on popular trains running services to cities including London, Manchester and Glasgow.

"They have no alternative but to look at the balance between standard and first class because trains are just going to get fuller and fuller on the west coast," Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport told The Times. "What drives people mad is when standard class carriages are heaving and there is a lot of space in first class."

In the past year, trains made an estimated 1.7 billion journeys—an increase of 60 million on last year.