First Great Western announces extra carriages

Crowded train
Image caption The company said more carriages would be introduced to help reduce overcrowding on trains

Train operator First Great Western is to introduce 48 more carriages to its services next year.

Some 4,500 seats will be added at peak times between London and South Wales, Bristol, Swindon, Didcot and Oxford.

Extra carriages will be used between Falmouth and Truro, and between Paignton, Exmouth, Exeter and Barnstaple.

An extra 924 seats will be available in and out of Bristol during peak times, including 336 through Bath.

In the addition to the extra carriages, newly refurbished trains will operate between Worcester and London Paddington, and between Reading and Basingstoke.

First Great Western said the improvements would cost £29m.

'Increasing demand'

The firm's managing director, Mark Hopwood, said the additional carriages would help to reduce overcrowding.

"We've seen an ever increasing demand for travel on our services.

"This investment will deliver thousands of extra seats for customers across our network," he said.

The new carriages will come into service between February and September next year.

Anthony Smith, from passenger watchdog Passenger Focus, said the investment was welcome in the short-term, but he wanted to see "more deals like these from train companies, government and councils".

"This is especially important as fares will rise in the new year and passengers want to see some action on their concerns and a return for the extra money," he said.

"In the longer term, government investment in more carriages, longer trains and improved track capacity is needed."

The extra 48 carriages will be leased from existing rolling stock that has been reburbished.

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