Class 331 tables arrangements

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Yorkshire222

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Traveling home tonight on a 331, the car had tables between the facing seats. As these are (presumably) mostly commuter units this seems a little odd as it makes it harder to get in and out of seats quickly and to place bags. I've rarely traveled on 331s up until now - it seems I usually hit 333s or 322s which don't have tables. Is this a usual arrangement or do units differ? It does not seem a good layout for commuter trains.
 
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js1000

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The 2+2 layout with tables is part of Northern's strategy are trying to attract off-peak leisure/business travellers. The franchise has healthy commuter loads but off-peak there are too many empty seats. Personally don't mind them - I'd rather have overcrowded 2+2 seating which will eventually lead to more carriages in the medium term (like TPE's Class 185s) than the cramped 3+2 arrangement. Although they should have installed some overhead grab handles around the doors for standing passengers.
 

47271

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I've appreciated the tables when I've been connecting to Scotland from Liverpool via Wigan or Preston recently. I'm not wobbling around with my laptop on my knee any more.

That said, I'll be using the direct services once Transpennine get their act together, so that's one less passenger in the market for the 331 layout...
 

Neptune

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The 195/331 fleet is built for the one size (doesn’t quite) fit all market. They work commuter trains around Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool (mainly the 331’s) plus long distance services such as Leeds - Nottingham, Leeds - Blackpool or Manchester Airport - Barrow (195’s). Sadly this common interior approach doesn’t work in the real world as there is no decent luggage space for large items vital on most of the 195 operated services. They would have been better making the 195’s more suitable for the medium/long distance market with maybe a couple of decent sized vertical luggage stacks per coach.

They should have been all a minimum of 3 cars too to allow for growth. The Leeds - Nottingham service is notorious for students with their large bags and now there’s nowhere to put them without blocking the doorways. There’s also less seats and toilets than the 158’s they’re replacing.

Maybe a better plan would be to have put all of the 195’s on suburban services and used the 158’s and 170’s on medium/long distance services as they are far more suited to this use.

I guess it’s less headline grabbing if they’re all on local services.
 

Bletchleyite

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The 195/331 fleet is built for the one size (doesn’t quite) fit all market. They work commuter trains around Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool (mainly the 331’s) plus long distance services such as Leeds - Nottingham, Leeds - Blackpool or Manchester Airport - Barrow (195’s). Sadly this common interior approach doesn’t work in the real world as there is no decent luggage space for large items vital on most of the 195 operated services. They would have been better making the 195’s more suitable for the medium/long distance market with maybe a couple of decent sized vertical luggage stacks per coach.

I'd add a Thameslink style stack in two of the standbacks, one on each side, and remove the tip-up seat from the other one.

They should have been all a minimum of 3 cars too to allow for growth. The Leeds - Nottingham service is notorious for students with their large bags and now there’s nowhere to put them without blocking the doorways. There’s also less seats and toilets than the 158’s they’re replacing.

I could have been inclined to agree with this - possibly even to the point of suggesting going Merseyrail style i.e. just ordering 3-cars and operating a simplified network using only 3 and 6-car trains.

Maybe a better plan would be to have put all of the 195’s on suburban services and used the 158’s and 170’s on medium/long distance services as they are far more suited to this use.

Yes, this. Look at the Snow Hill Lines transformation using the 172s, and imagine what could have been done for the Manchester and Leeds suburban diesel services with these.
 

Neptune

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I’d also be inclined to say that Northern in addition to my above thoughts could take on the TfW 158’s (24 units) and 175’s (27 units) in a few years time for longer distance services allowing off leasing of some of the 150’s and the small 155 fleet.

All of this is pie in the sky of course. What would make sense and what happens in reality are two entirely different things.
 
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