lördag 8 december 2007

First Great Western has ruined its trains

Not enough luggage space

First Group has paid some design consultant to refurbish its 30 year old Inter City 125 trains on its Great Western routes. These redesigned trains must be amongst the most unpleasant long-distance trains in Europe. The interiors induce a feeling of claustrophobia. They have stuffed in too many seats too close together, and they are cramped and uncomfortable. They are also arranged in a face-to-back layout, as in coaches and aircraft. This causes trouble with luggage. Coaches and planes have luggage holds, whereas trains do not; on trains, most of the luggage space is between the seat backs. But when the seats all face the same way, the space between the seat backs no longer exists. So there is not enough luggage space at all and people are leaving it in the doors and gangways, blocking them up like this.

The company says that this was done on the basis of a survey which found that passengers wanted more seats on the trains, but it is a dumb survey that does not spell out that packing in more seats will mean cramped seats and insufficient room for luggage. And it is equally dumb to just act on the results of such a survey. Now they need to do another survey which will find that passengers want luggage space and and legroom.

Interior of Inter City 125 train

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