NEW train carriages brought into use on the c2c train route have been criticised for doing nothing to ease longstanding overcrowding problems.

The carriages started operating on selected services on the Shoebury to Fenchurch Street route this week, but their layout has already drawn criticism.

Paul Offord, 39, from Westcliff, who commutes every day, said: “It was carnage in the morning.

“I’ve never seen the morning train so packed. Anyone who got on at Benfleet or beyond will have had to stand in cramped conditions for the whole journey to London. It’s not good enough when fares are so expensive - c2c has really mucked up what was a brilliant service for many years.

“I can’t believe there’s now baggage storage racks on what are just commuter trains. And they only have two seats width either side of the aisle, not three on one side as before. Whoever designed it obviously doesn’t commute every day.”

Peter Slattery, from the Southend Rail Travellers Association, said: “There are fewer seats and more luggage holding, but the alternative is having the older trains and then there would be even more overcrowding.

“The carriages are hired to help, they were not built for our specification. The new trains will come in a few years.

“There are six new trains coming before Christmas, which is still not enough but it is better than nothing. It is not c2c’s fault, it is the franchise’s fault that not enough investment has been put in.”

A c2c spokesman said: “We are only part-way through the programme of rolling out these new carriages. At present they are running as an eight-carriage service, but when we are finished these services will have 12 carriages. This means there will be more seats for customers using these trains, even though they have a different seating layout.”

The spokesman added: “We’d like to thank people for bearing with us while we roll out all the carriages.

“Most importantly, the new trains allow us to lengthen other trains with the spare carriages. Since Monday there have been three peak trains each morning and each evening with four extra carriages thanks to the arrival of these new trains - so nearly 300 more seats on each one of those trains.”