UK-based train operator Greater Anglia has decided to remove first-class carriages from all regional services in a bid to accommodate more passengers.

The policy will become effective from 2 January 2020, following which all commuter and regional routes will have standard-class seating arrangements only.

With the number of passengers on regional routes estimated to increase over time, the decision to declassify first-class accommodation will help Greater Anglia to manage the growing demand by providing standard seating on all routes.

Intercity trains operating between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London will continue to have first-class seating.

Greater Anglia is set to replace its full fleet of trains with longer vehicles from the middle of next year to the end of 2020.

“With the combination of withdrawing first class and our new longer trains, we can provide about 20% more standard seats across our network.”

Designed after taking customer and stakeholder feedback, the air-conditioned trains will feature USB and plug points, free WI-FI and tables for most of the seats.

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Greater Anglia Commercial and Customer Services director Martin Moran said: “With the combination of withdrawing first class and our new longer trains, we can provide about 20% more standard seats across our network, which will reduce overcrowding and improve our customers’ experience of travelling with us.”

The company has also informed all its first-class annual season ticket holders about the new policy, stating the procedure to swap to a standard ticket.

Moran added: “By only retaining First-Class seating on our new intercity trains, we can offer a much better service, provide many more seats and reduce over-crowding on our suburban and Stansted Express services in and out of London, delivering a far better service for thousands of passengers.”

Last month, Stadler delivered the first bi-mode train to Greater Anglia. Stadler will deliver 38 bi-mode trains, which will be brought into commercial service in May 2019.