Railway passengers to claim 100,000 extra seats

Ruth Kelly confirms new carriages for busy routes
Ruth Kelly confirms new carriages for busy routes

The government today promised to create 100,000 extra seats across England's busiest train routes.

New carriages will be financed and existing carriages redeployed to great extra-long trains on the busiest routes at peak times, increasing capacity and easing overcrowding.

But opposition MPs said the new capacity would not meet demand on the railways while doing nothing to address complaints over rising fares.

Last year's white paper on sustainable railways promised passengers would benefit from 1,300 extra carriages.

The publication today of the Rolling Stock Plan sets out how many carriages the English Training Operation Companies need to meet capacity demand on the railways until 2014.

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly today confirmed rolling stock will increase by ten per cent thanks to the new carriages.

Ruth Kelly: "Following today's publication of the rolling stock plan, Network Rail can now begin their preparations for extending platforms, depots and sidings to accommodate longer trains.

"This is a major step forward towards fulfilling our commitment to tackle overcrowding on the busiest routes and, deliver real improvements for rail passengers."

The Liberal Democrats welcomed the plan but warned it would only be a stop-gap measure.

Transport spokesman Norman Baker said the government was displaying a "disconnection" between its projected figures for passenger numbers and infrastructure in place to support them.

The government wants to increase capacity on the railways to accommodate 180 million more passengers over the next seven years, representing growth of 20 per cent.

Mr Baker continued: "We need even more carriages, not higher fares which put people off travelling. If the government is going to meet its emissions targets, it must get more people out of their cars and on to the railways.

"In ten years time we will have more passengers standing, and paying over the odds to stand. There is an urgent need to invest more in the network and develop new lines."


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