COMMUTERS travelling to London early in the morning will find it easier to get a seat from next month as longer trains will be running to the capital.
Southeastern, which runs services from Hastings and Battle to London’s Charing Cross, is starting a trial in December where trains will have 12 carriages, instead of eight, from the start of their journey.
At the moment, passengers in the morning rush hour have to suffer possible delays at Tunbridge Wells as extra carriages are attached at that station.
This is because, up until now, Southesatern said trains with more than eight cars could not operate between Hastings and Tunbridge Wells because of the power supply.
A spokesman for Southeastern said: “As part of the December timetable change, we will be running a trial with Network Rail to use 12-car trains from Tunbridge Wells to Hastings. This will help provide more capacity and improve performance.”
Network Rail is responsible for operating the power supply on the tracks. A spokesman said: “Following Southeastern’s major timetable change in 2009, we have carried out work to look at the possibilities of running 12-car trains between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings. We have identified a small number of slots in the timetable where the amount of power being drawn by other trains in the area means there is just enough electricity left in the system to run a small number of 12-car services. It will provide us with data we need to establish the scale of investment needed to upgrade the infrastructure to allow more of these longer trains to run.”
The trains with extra carriages will be the 07.01 service from Hastings to Charing Cross, and the 08.17 and 17.59 trains from Charing Cross to Hastings. Councillor Jeremy Birch, council leader, said: “Not only is this good news for commuters, but it strengthens our case to retain a peak City service when the new Thameslink service is introduced in a few years time. Previously we had been told that we couldn’t get Thameslink trains because of the short train restriction. If that is no longer the case, we can campaign hard for those too.”