Trial suspension of seat reservations on EMR Regional services between Liverpool and Norwich

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

March 2020

Passengers using East Midlands Railway services between Liverpool and Norwich are advised they will not be able to reserve seats from 25 April – 12 December 2020.

This is a trial and will be reviewed this summer but it is being introduced as work continues to improve and ultimately replace the current EMR Regional fleet.

Advance Purchase tickets will still be available, allowing passengers to benefit from the lowest fares to travel on a specific train. Passengers can also still reserve a wheelchair or bicycle space in the same way they do today.

This is not a decision which has been taken lightly but will provide a more reliable and dependable experience for customers.

EMR currently operates three different types of train on its EMR Regional fleet; and each has a slightly different seat layout.

Although this has been the case for a number of years, EMR is now also updating the livery on the outside of these trains (which involves taking them out of service) as well as starting to introduce a fourth type of train, known as a Class 170.

Combined, this means more short notice and temporary changes to the type of train used on particular services, which makes it more difficult to provide the seat reservations booked by customers.

We believe this will help to provide a more reliable and uniform service for our customers travelling on this busy line.

Eventually, the entire EMR Regional fleet will be comprised of Class 170 trains, bringing a standard and uniform fleet of trains for all regional services. This new fleet will also provide much improved on board facilities for passengers, including more seats, power sockets, free WiFi, air conditioning, accessible toilets as well as maintaining wheelchair areas and cycle spaces.

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director at East Midlands Railway, said: “We are trialling the removal of seat reservations on our Regional route from Liverpool – Norwich while we transition to a new and improved fleet of trains which we believe will help us to provide a more reliable and consistent experience for our customers.

”Although the majority of customers who travel on this line do not book a seat we understand the ongoing temporary changes to our fleet means we are not keeping as many of these bookings as we would expect and we understand this is very frustrating for our customers.

“We will be reviewing the trial on 1 August, which will allow us to make any necessary changes before tickets go on sale for our new timetable in December 2020.

“Passengers who book assistance can continue to do so in exactly the same way they do today and we will also continue to take bicycle bookings as we do today too.”

Wheelchair space reservations and bookings for passenger assistance should be made in the usual way by contacting EMRs Passenger Assist by calling 08000 11 33 23 or through the EMR website