14 November 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT exposes Grayling first class fiasco as he green lights new luxury carriages on South Western Railway.
Rail union RMT today exposed yet another Chris Grayling fiasco as his pledge to phase out First Class travel on London commuter routes just four months ago turned to dust as it emerged that new rolling stock on South Western Railway will include luxury, pimped-up carriages for those that can afford to pay.
In a statement, South Western Railway says that "as part of its £1.2bn investment plans, it has signed contracts worth £50m with Siemens to refurbish its existing 172-strong Class 444 and Class 450 Desiro fleet of trains, which currently operate across the SWR network."
With the centre piece being “additional benefits for First Class customers [which] include new leather seats and new tables incorporating innovative inductive charging. The programme is expected to take around 12 months to complete."
The news flies in the face of a pledge made by the Transport Secretary as recently as July this year where he said that he would be phasing out first class services on London commuter routes to help tackle the severe over-crowding which is an everyday feature for passengers forking out thousands of pounds a year for their season tickets.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“This is yet another example of the chaos and warped priorities under Chris Grayling and the Tory Government.
“First he said he was getting rid of first class services on London commuter routes and now he has flip flopped and first class is getting plush new leather seats while passengers paying a fortune to travel in standard carriages are rammed in like cattle without even the safety back up of a guaranteed guard. It's a disgrace.
“If South Western Railway can afford luxury leather seats and other bells and whistles for the well-heeled then they can afford to keep guards on their trains and if Chris Grayling can u-turn so sharply on first class travel pledges then he can reverse his drive to throw the guards off our trains.”