A RAIL company has been slammed after it removed 'quiet coaches' from its trains out of York.

CrossCountry, which runs services from York to cities including Birmingham and Bristol, claims such coaches are no longer needed because modern technology and better signals mean people can now communicate quietly and clearly.

But Paul Hepworth, a regular Cross County trains user from York, who complained to rail watchdog Passenger Focus about the decision, said many passengers didn't realise they no longer needed to talk loudly on modern mobile phones.

"I’m fed up of having to listen to megaphone conversations from the far end of a carriage," he said. "Only yesterday I had to put up with a loud conversation all the way between Leeds and York.

"The truth is that the 4 and 5 coach Voyager trains that Cross Country inherited from the previous franchisee, Virgin, are often unable to cope with demand for travel."

Passenger Focus said it understood his frustrations and had raised concerns over the implications for passengers, but there was no statutory obligation for Cross Country to consult the wider industry prior to withdrawing quiet carriages. "Therefore, regrettably, there is no legislative pressure that we can apply to compel them to reinstate same," it added.

CrossCountry spokesman Richard Gibson said it introduced such coaches in the 1990s, when mobile phones were in their infancy and the technology meant for 'poor connections and loud conversation,' and they had now been removed from the company's Voyager trains following feedback from customers and staff.

He said that as well as better technology and mobile signals, improved headphone design meant entertainment systems emitted much less noise.

"In addition, changing trends mean that people are far more likely to be communicating by text, email and through Facebook and Twitter than making phone calls when travelling by train."

He said that in their place, the company had provided signage throughout the train, and onboard teams would make regular announcements to remind all customers to consider how their actions could affect other customers.

"Our staff are trained to help all our customers and anyone that feels the actions of others are spoiling their journey can approach our onboard people who will be happy to help."