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First-class train carriages could soon be thing of the past

By Travel at 60

Trains in London could get a makeover

For some, first class is a much-deserved luxury and an opportunity to relax and recharge, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone.

According to Britain’s transport secretary, Chris Graylin, first-class train carriages should be scrapped from busy train routes to alleviate overcrowding in other carriages.

Almost a third of all rail passengers stand on trains that travel into London during peak travel times, a problem that has been steadily growing as the amount of people who use trains doubled in the last two decades.

“I absolutely understand what a total pain it is if you are standing on a train for 20-30 minutes on the way to work,” transport secretary Chris Grayling told The Telegraph.

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“I don’t really see a case for a non-longer-distance journey for there to be any division between first and second class. There should just be one class on the train.”

While the introduction of first class on trains was once a class divide between people of different social stature, now that doesn’t seem to be the case, according to new research.

"It's not necessarily true that you do get a different class of people in first, because the research suggests they're scattered across the train,” Tom Rees, senior travel analyst for consumer research company Mintel said in a study, which profiled train passengers in standard and first class over 12 months.

It was found that the group that was most likely to travel on the train were professional, regardless of which carriage class they chose.

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This isn’t the first train company that has toyed with the idea of getting rid of the classes altogether and in 2003 Chiltern Trains did just that, receiving a positive response from the public.

"Listening to our passengers, they felt it was unfair that at times there were empty seats in first class while other people were standing," regional manager Michael Campain told the BBC.

Commuters have also shared their opinions online about how they feel about the end of first class carriages on trains.

“The class system is clearly still well and truly alive in this country!” said Kris Kroucher from Cambridge.

“I wouldn't give up my first class season ticket though. I get a seat every day and don’t have to join the crush to fight for a seat in standard.”

Travel at 60
What do you think about the end of the class divide on trains in London?