A spokesperson for C2C has confirmed that a business class carriage will be added to all peak services in and out of London from July 2016 – the upgraded seating area will include spacious seating, a full hot and cold drinks service, light meals and snacks and superfast WiFi. Access to this area will be reserved for season ticket holders, with annual tickets costing roughly 75% more than the standard fare, but campaigners have said that it is ‘irresponsible and greedy’ to effectively remove a carriage of standard seats to make way for the upgraded area.
In a statement, the rail operator said: ‘Our research has shown that a number of commuters between 6am and 9am sometimes have trouble finding a seat on our services, and so we are delighted to give our passengers the option of paying more for their season ticket and reserving one of 24 business class seats that will be available on every peak service. The carriage and bathroom facilities will be entirely separate on every train, and four crew members will be on hand to make each journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. For peak services out of London, the snack serving area will convert into a bar where passengers can unwind with a complimentary beer or glass of wine, and a light meal will save the trouble of cooking at home.’
‘One of the most exciting features of our new business class product is that there will also be two single-carriage express services in the morning and early evening. During periods of line congestion, these very short trains will be able to pass standard 12-car services and arrive on time – this is something that our higher income passengers have demanded on a number of occasions in the past and we are pleased to be able to offer a solution. Our ultimate long-term plan is to lay additional track in strategic areas along the route so that C2C business class trains can be extended with the promise of faster and hassle-free journeys, and we will be able to invest any extra revenue in standard services to benefit every single passenger across the network.’
According to an email that has been sent to Southend News Network, work to create dedicated business class platform areas at key stations will begin within the next seven days, and outdoor patio-style heaters will be in place by the late autumn. The exclusive platform areas and business class carriages will be maroon in colour so that they can be found easily, and bosses have already promised that other perks are in the pipeline that will make C2C business class ‘better than transatlantic offerings.’