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Extra carriages for Southern rail travellers
Rail passengers in Sussex have been told they can expect more than 250 newtrain carriages and more frequent services from 2014.
Southern Rail has announced multimillion pound plans to purchase up to 40 new Electrostar train carriages – pending approval from the Department for Transport.
The new£60 million carriages will come from British train manufacturer Bombardier and will add to the 130 new carriages Southern bought at the end of last year.
It is also developing separate proposals with the Government to purchase a further 116 carriages, with the option of buying a further 100 after that.
The company, which is the main operator in Sussex, says it will receive the new carriages in 2014 but it does not know exactly where they will be deployed.
Chris Hudson, spokesman for Southern Rail, said: “The new carriages will be in full operation by December 2014, but it has not yet been decided where.
“They will mean an increased number of services for our passengers and more seating capacity across the network.”
Bruce Williamson, spokesman for rail passenger campaigners Railfuture, said there was a desperate need for new rolling stock and they welcomed any investment in rail services.
He added: “This is obviously good news. But one word of caution would be that the Government is often accused of double counting.
“We would like to see how these plans fit in with previous announcements of new rolling stock.
“Bombardier is the last remaining British manufacturer of trains in the UKso we applaud that Southern Rail are buying internally.”
It is hoped the new carriages will be deployed in Sussex to help ease congestion on the busy Brighton to London route.
Campaigners are currently calling for a second Brighton to London mainline to be built and say it is the only solution to overcrowded trains.
The service is currently used by around 8,000 commuters from Brighton each day.
Chris Burchell, Southern Rail managing director, said: “I am pleased that Southern is able to assist the Department in introducing additional capacity.
“The potential new order for 116 carriages will be exciting news for train manufacturers and for passengers.”