Carriages: Compartment, Corridor, Open

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Inversnecky

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I can see why the transition was made from compartment to corridor, as there was no emergency escape from a compartment during travel, let alone access to the loo, or a buffet.

But why was there a shift from corridor to open?

Was it to do with the strength of the coach structure, aspects of safety as above, or more economics of build?

When were the last corridor coaches used in trains?
 
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Gloster

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You can get more passengers (*) in a non-corridor coach (I presume that is what you mean by compartment), but passengers don’t like them. Reasons include the lack of access to toilets or buffets, the inability to move along if everybody jams into one compartment, and the the safety issue (in the sense of being trapped with a maniac). Side-corridor coaches may be preferred to open ones by many passengers as they don’t have the above mentioned disadvantages, but they are not liked by the operators as they have a lower capacity than open ones. So the passenger ends up travelling in an open coach as that provides the maximum number of places for the minimum train-length. Or maybe this is a cynic’s view.

* - the old SR 4-SUBs and EPBs could fit fourteen, at a push.
+ - side-corridor coaches have the advantage that they give more legroom and so you avoid the shin-kicking contests, but if you reduced the legroom you would get complaints. You could have an external door to each compartment and so save the cross-vestibule, but would you remove the toilet?
 

Irascible

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As a growing lad I used to love Mk1 compartments ( not many of them about even back then ), deep sprung seats the right length to lie on - but that was balanced by the lack of any table to speak of, so I wouldn't say I'd prefer to travel in one.

I don't think the interior layout has any effect on structure other than any structural bulkhead that might be in the centre somewhere. No idea if the Mk1-based NC stock had those between compartments, older stuff was wood bodied & not exactly strong anyway.
 

copea

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There was no difference in structural strength of a open coach compared with compartment. I am not sure about Southern EMUs but loco hauled stock the last standard class compartment stock was on the XP64 stock. The last first class was the Mk2D FK and BFK.
Passenger surveys showed a preference for open stock particularly on busy trains and once multiple stops had been included even on long journeys. Passenger habits have changed over the years as we have become less sociable as airline style seats now fill first on trains.
There were always difficulties with air conditioned compartment stock getting good air circulation. The MK2D FK and BFK were a case in point.
 

DerekC

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You can get more passengers (*) in a non-corridor coach (I presume that is what you mean by compartment), but passengers don’t like them. Reasons include the lack of access to toilets or buffets, the inability to move along if everybody jams into one compartment, and the the safety issue (in the sense of being trapped with a maniac). Side-corridor coaches may be preferred to open ones by many passengers as they don’t have the above mentioned disadvantages, but they are not liked by the operators as they have a lower capacity than open ones. So the passenger ends up travelling in an open coach as that provides the maximum number of places for the minimum train-length. Or maybe this is a cynic’s view.
I don't see why that's cynical. Surely maximum seats per unit train length is a good thing? That's one of the reasons why MUs have pretty much swept the board in the UK. Side corridor stock was all very nice if you got a window seat, but a crush loaded side corridor train was a bit of a nightmare. People eventually started opening compartment sliding doors and trying to stand in the leg space, to complaints all round. And getting off at an intermediate station could be a real problem at platforms on the non-corridor side.
 

sprinterguy

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When were the last corridor coaches used in trains?
Direct Rail Services operated declassified Mark 2D Corridor Brake First (BFK) number 17159 during the first few months of it's Cumbrian Coast loco-hauled trains in 2015, before the Driving Trailers were introduced.

In more widespread timetabled service I'm not sure, but the North Wales Coast loco-hauled trains were certainly still operating with Mark 2A Corridor Brake Standards (Declassified BFKs) until the end of 2000 at least.
 
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Cheshire Scot

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On the WR and SR the side corridor stock in second class had no armrests and held 8 people per compartment - 64 in an 8 compartment coach.
On the other regions it was 6 per compartment with armrests, 48 per coach, and a notice on the corridor side window to the effect the armrests should be raised at busy times to seat 8. For train capacity purposes however it was counted as a 48 seat coach. Seat reservations on the respective regions reflected the different compartment seating arrangements of 6 or 8.
An open coach sat 64 - 16 tables of 4 but you had to squeeze past the table leg to get the window seat, and ask the person in the aisle seat to move to get out.
So other than on the WR and SR 3 open coaches had the capacity of 4 compartment coaches.
Most overnight trains were formed of compartment coaches but over the years more and more open coaches appeared on these.
 
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WesternLancer

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Open coaches facilitate seating arrangements that do not align with windows and thus permit more closely spaced seats (at the expensive of leg room), and thus more seats per train.

Vandalism in compartments must also have been another factor, esp when vandalism became a more popular past time (at least in 1970s tho of course it would have happened before that too) - open coaches permitting a substantially higher level of 'passive surveillance'.
 

Cheshire Scot

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Vandalism in compartments must also have been another factor, esp when vandalism became a more popular past time (at least in 1970s tho of course it would have happened before that too) - open coaches permitting a substantially higher level of 'passive surveillance'.
People used to nick light bulbs from compartments, then find they were no use as they were what was then a non-standard screw fitting.
 

hexagon789

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I can see why the transition was made from compartment to corridor, as there was no emergency escape from a compartment during travel, let alone access to the loo, or a buffet.

But why was there a shift from corridor to open?

Was it to do with the strength of the coach structure, aspects of safety as above, or more economics of build?

When were the last corridor coaches used in trains?
BR specifically made the change for catering purposes with the Mk2D stock. These were the last compartment coaches and during their introduction in service the decision was made to serve meals at-seat in first class, hence the Mk2E and 2F stock being all open.

Interestingly the prototype HST plans show one of the Trailer Firsts was to be constructed as compartment but this was changed before construction.

Another reason for switching to open stock was passenger studies showed it was preferred, particularly among lone women travellers - people felt it was safer.

Additionally it allowed greater passenger carrying capacity, with the Mk3 bodyshell you can without partitions seat originally 72 later 76 up to 84 passengers in a coach that with compartments would only seat 48 or 64 depending on the style of seating employed. I've never seen a compartment design where the compartmentsb didn't line up with the windows but I suppose it might have been done potentially.
 

BayPaul

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Open coaches facilitate seating arrangements that do not align with windows and thus permit more closely spaced seats (at the expensive of leg room), and thus more seats per train.
They also facilitate airline-type seating arrangements, popular with passengers who don't want to be fighting for leg space with strangers! I always choose an airline seat.
 

GRALISTAIR

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Also I think females (very appropriate especially considering the current climate but pertinent all the time) felt safer in open saloons rather than compartment.
 

hexagon789

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Also I think females (very appropriate especially considering the current climate but pertinent all the time) felt safer in open saloons rather than compartment.
BR came to much the same conclusion in research as I outlined above. I think though that applies to all passengers particularly lone travellers - open stock is safer from the personal safety point of view
 

Gloster

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It has been said, although there may be no more than an element of truth, that the case for corridor stock was greatly enhanced by the case of Colonel Valentine Baker, who made such unwanted advances to a young woman on the LSWR in 1875 that she exited the carriage and stood on the footboard as the train was running east of Woking. As Baker was a well-known person with, up to then, a promising military career, the case and his subsequent trial created a great deal of interest and discussion.
 

30907

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Passenger surveys showed a preference for open stock particularly on busy trains and once multiple stops had been included even on long journeys. Passenger habits have changed over the years as we have become less sociable as airline style seats now fill first on trains.
The SR established this post WW2 and as a result Bulleid's mainline steam stock had a roughly 50/50 mix (while suburban units were 3 open to 1 compartment), but SR corridor electric units had saloon motor coaches right from 1932.
There were always difficulties with air conditioned compartment stock getting good air circulation. The MK2D FK and BFK were a case in point.
...as were the compartment versions of SNCF's Corail stock, and other mainland European stock (standard international coaches were always compartment until quite recently).
 

PG

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On the WR and SR the side corridor stock in second class had no armrests and held 8 people per compartment - 64 in an 8 compartment coach.
You always got that sarcastic 'Oh great!' resigned look when entering a compartment which already had 6 people as they now realised that the train was getting busy and everyone would just have to get cosy.
Also I think females (very appropriate especially considering the current climate but pertinent all the time) felt safer in open saloons rather than compartment.
You'd often see younger women go up and down the side corridor scanning to see which compartment contained the least dodgy looking occupants prior to seating themselves.
 

Gloster

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On the WR and SR the side corridor stock in second class had no armrests and held 8 people per compartment - 64 in an 8 compartment coach.
Some of these still had the armrests fitted, but sewn up into the back of the seat. Quite a few of these armrests had come a bit loose, possibly due to people trying to pull them down, so if you did end with four-a-side, two would have the armrests shoving them in the back. Not hard, but enough to annoy.
 

antharro

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IIRC, 442s were the last compartment stock anywhere on the network. I certainly loved having a compartment to myself travelling back down south on a Sunday night!
 

Taunton

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but a crush loaded side corridor train was a bit of a nightmare. People eventually started opening compartment sliding doors and trying to stand in the leg space, to complaints all round.
This was standard procedure on long distance trains in WW2. I don't think there were many complaints then.
 

hexagon789

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IIRC, 442s were the last compartment stock anywhere on the network. I certainly loved having a compartment to myself travelling back down south on a Sunday night!
I believe so after the slammers were withdrawn, though they only had compartments in First Class
 

hexagon789

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Weekend upgrade was totally worth it when you got a compartment to yourself! :)
Can well imagine, the compartments do look nice in photos especially compared to the open First Class seating in the same trains which was literally just tarted-up Standard Class
 

bramling

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IIRC, 442s were the last compartment stock anywhere on the network. I certainly loved having a compartment to myself travelling back down south on a Sunday night!

Not quite, there was a compartment carriage on the Cumbrian Coast loco-hauled for a short while.

Also without checking ISTR the Lymington CIGs outlasted the 442 compartments by a couple of years.
 

Merle Haggard

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Don't forget that the LMR had quite a few 48 seat Mk1 open seconds (SO). There seemed to be more than would be needed just for dining, coupled to a kitchen car.
 

route101

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They also facilitate airline-type seating arrangements, popular with passengers who don't want to be fighting for leg space with strangers! I always choose an airline seat.

I prefer airlines too, I understand if you want to work on a laptop. Not a fan of sitting opposite a stranger on longer rides, and don't fancy it in first class.
 
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