Alison Seabeck MP delighted as additional seat capacity is promised for SW rail services

After continued campaigning to increase capacity on rail services from London to Plymouth, Alison Seabeck, MP for Plymouth Moor View, was delighted to hear that First Great Western and the Department for Transport have confirmed that work will soon begin on increasing standard class capacity through converting some of their first class carriages.

The work, which will deliver almost 3,000 more standard class seats a day for customers across the network, will also include a refurbishment of the first class carriages. This will be a joint investment of around £13 million in trains serving the South West with the Department for Transport (DfT) funding the additional standard class capacity and FGW funding a refresh of the first class environment.

All the work to convert the carriages and to refresh the first class environment will be done in the UK, with the work to the first class carriages being undertaken at the FGW depot in Laira, Plymouth, which will no doubt give an added boost to our local economy.

This breakthrough has followed two other recent campaigning successes. Alison recently waved off a highly requested new 21:35 service from London Paddington to Plymouth, and FGW also confirmed in December last year that free WiFi will be available on all their services by the end 2014. The vast campaigning team including the Council, Businesses, MPs and the public will be pleased with this progress. There is still unfinished business and Alison will continue to fight for better transport links for the City.

This announcement has brought further good news for Plymouth, as FGW have confirmed a number of timetable change proposals, which could result the current 0706 Paddington to Paignton service running directly from London to Plymouth and then further key stations in Cornwall; achieving around a 40 minute earlier arrival than today’s first London train at Totnes, Plymouth and key stations through to Penzance.

Alison Seabeck MP said: “I am delighted, after continually pushing First Great Western and the Department for Transport on this issue, that they have now confirmed there will be added standard seating capacity to Plymouth. Far too often passengers in standard class have head to sit or even stand in packed carriages while space and seats were going wasted in First Class. Now there will be a redistribution of seating, hopefully giving much needed space to passengers who travel in standard class.”

“Along with potential improvements to timetabling, free WiFi and the eventual re-opening of the Dawlish line in April, this announcement is a sign of much needed improvements in rail services to our region, which will help our economy grow and give passengers a far more enjoyable journey.”