First class carriages on commuter trains could be a thing of the past, as the transport secretary wants to see a shift towards a "one class" system on shorter routes.

Chris Grayling said people using UK trains will, in the near future, see "less first class" on busy suburban trains, such as those connecting parts of Greater London with the capital, and commuter towns with cities like Manchester and Birmingham.

It was suggested by Grayling on 21 July that train operators may soon be forced to scrap first class carriages; this has the potential to relieve pressure from standard class, where customers are often forced to stand during their rush-hour commute while first class carriages are underused.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Grayling said: "I absolutely understand what a total pain it is if you are standing on a train for 20 to 30 minutes on the way to work. I don't really see a case for a non-long distance journey for these to be any division between first and second class. There should just be one class on the train."

Grayling said he is "absolutely" committed to removing first class from shorter journeys, although he may well face pressure from commuters paying for first class from the likes of Oxford or Brighton, where journeys into London are more inter-city than suburban commute.

"People will see less first class in the future as we start to say that on busy suburban trains you can't start segregating."

The removal of first class could happen as soon as early 2018, as contracts to run various train lines end. The Department for Transport can then make alterations to the contracts - such as removing the requirement for first class carriages - before offering them up for tender.

South West Trains
Trains serving London could see their first class offering removed Getty