Rail passengers will have more seats on overcrowded routes within 15 months under plans revealed today.
There will be another 20,000 seats a week on CrossCountry trains from May 2021, the Government announced.
Passengers travelling from Birmingham to Nottingham, Leicester and Cardiff will begin to see longer trains from this May, with an extra 5,000 seats a week.
A further 15,000 seats a week are planned from mid-2021, including between Cambridge and Stansted Airport.
Announcing £2.5million funding for the longer trains, Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Investing in transport is essential to levelling up the country, as we look to modernise our rail network and restructure the industry to put passengers at the heart of the railway.
“But we want to fund benefits to address pressing needs and improve journeys for passengers in the short-term, as well as in the future.
“More seats mean more people can travel, increasing access to opportunities and better connecting our regions.”
The carriages will come from West Midlands Trains, which is receiving new trains.
Just 58% of CrossCountry passengers are satisfied with the level of crowding on trains, the latest major survey by watchdog Transport Focus suggested.
That was the second-lowest score of all operators, above only TransPennine Express which received 57%.
Hailing the new trains, CrossCountry’s managing director Tom Joyner said: “We are delighted to now be able to get on and deliver these benefits for our customers, with improvements to the journey experience and three new community groups to bring our train services closer to the places we serve.
“Most importantly, many of our trains have become increasingly busy as more and more people choose rail for their journeys.
“This delivers the biggest increase in seats for our services in more than 13 years, helping customers enjoy a relaxing and comfortable journey every day.
“These improvements will deliver an immediate boost for rail users in the Midlands, with the promise of even more to come on other routes in the near future.”
The Department for Transport said it was finalising plans with CrossCountry for longer trains on long-distance routes from Scotland, the North East and Manchester to the South West and the South Coast.
The extra seats are due to be in place from December 2020.
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