First Great Western will add an extra 4,500 seats to commuter trains running into and out of London Paddington starting from early next year.
Extra government funding means a total of 48 carriages will be added to First’s services between London, Reading and the south west. New trains will start operating between Worcester and London Paddington, freeing up capacity for extra seats on Thames Valley commuter services.
Vernon Barker, Managing Director of FirstGroup’s UK rail division, said: “We’re delighted at this announcement by the Department for Transport, which is good news for First Great Western’s customers across the network and will reduce crowding on the most popular peak services.”
A total of 27 peak daily services calling at Twyford, 28 calling at Maidenhead and 23 calling at Slough will receive extra carriages.
Theresa Villiers, Transport Secretary, said: “We are determined to tackle overcrowding and provide better, more comfortable journeys for passengers. These extra carriages will enable existing services to be lengthened which will significantly increase their capacity.
Fifteen carriages being added to the high speed trains operating out of Paddington are ex-British Rail Mk.III buffet cars which will be converted to standard class. 33 carriages will be added to other services across the areas targeted for improvement.These will be phased in between February 2012 and September 2012. The Government hopes the extra carriages will be deployed in time for next summer’s Olympic Games.
The cost of improving capacity on the network will be £28.9m.