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Class 700s - was it necessary for them to be so uncomfortable? How could they be done better, perhaps at refurb?

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Bald Rick

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Yes first in the 365s is a bit “specialist” (Queen likes it!), but most people’s experience will be standard, and that is the layout being advocated as what would have been better for the 700s.

In 20+ years I’ve never heard anyone sit down on a 365 and be heard to moan about the seats, unlike both 387 and 700. The 365 isn’t perfect - legroom in the facing seats isn’t wonderful when 4 people are seated - but it’s very much better than the 700.

To be fair I’ve never heard anyone complain about the seats whilst on board a 700, despite using them twice daily from the day they were introduced until Lockdown.
 
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bramling

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To be fair I’ve never heard anyone complain about the seats whilst on board a 700, despite using them twice daily from the day they were introduced until Lockdown.

I have! I’ve also heard people at my station discussing them on the platforms.

Many Midland users will, of course, compare the 700s to 319s - which were never the best. GN users were used to a better train.
 

AM9

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... Many Midland users will, of course, compare the 700s to 319s - which were never the best. GN users were used to a better train.

Not really, - many MML TL users compare them with 377/5s and 387s and most are grateful for a train that isn't overcrowded, fast and after a few teething troubles (including the infamous shutdown after the supply frequency slipped out of range) have proven to be quite reliable.
 

Hadders

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To be fair I’ve complained on here about the 365 first class seats. Much prefer a 700.
I'll give you that one! First Class on the 700s is better than First Class on the 365s. To be fair I regularly use 1st class on 700s (at the rear!) but only ever use 1st Class on the 365s if it's part of a longer distance 1st class journey (which is rare but not unheard of)

I have! I’ve also heard people at my station discussing them on the platforms.

Many Midland users will, of course, compare the 700s to 319s - which were never the best. GN users were used to a better train.
I heard loads of complaint from fellow passengers when they first started on the GN. I'm talking about normal commuters, not enthusiasts.
 

bramling

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Not really, - many MML TL users compare them with 377/5s and 387s and most are grateful for a train that isn't overcrowded, fast and after a few teething troubles (including the infamous shutdown after the supply frequency slipped out of range) have proven to be quite reliable.

Reliable? That’s a matter of conjecture - it’s pretty much guaranteed to get up the departure board for my station and see at least one “cancelled due to a fault on this train” showing. A reminder that at one point in National Express WAGN and FCC days (before the crewing issues kicked off) cancellation of a GN outer service for any reason was proper rare.

Not saying that this isn’t to be expected with a new(ish) train, but reliability is by no means a bed of sweet roses.
 

jon0844

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Yes first in the 365s is a bit “specialist” (Queen likes it!), but most people’s experience will be standard, and that is the layout being advocated as what would have been better for the 700s.

In 20+ years I’ve never heard anyone sit down on a 365 and be heard to moan about the seats, unlike both 387 and 700. The 365 isn’t perfect - legroom in the facing seats isn’t wonderful when 4 people are seated - but it’s very much better than the 700.

I think the 365s were nicer pre-refresh and some seats being moved around. But the improved PIS and toilets are certainly better.

I am simply not a fan of the opening windows, which might be great on the fast trains (time to cool the air through motion) but was horrid on the stoppers - especially as 'your' window cools people many rows behind. The hopper vents barely worked, and nothing can compare with a decent air conditioning system.

Reliable? That’s a matter of conjecture - it’s pretty much guaranteed to get up the departure board for my station and see at least one “cancelled due to a fault on this train” showing. A reminder that at one point in National Express WAGN and FCC days (before the crewing issues kicked off) cancellation of a GN outer service for any reason was proper rare.

Not saying that this isn’t to be expected with a new(ish) train, but reliability is by no means a bed of sweet roses.

They've been very reliable of late, but ice did seem to take a few down recently. The common issues, like doors not opening, are ancient history now.
 

bramling

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I'll give you that one! First Class on the 700s is better than First Class on the 365s. To be fair I regularly use 1st class on 700s (at the rear!) but only ever use 1st Class on the 365s if it's part of a longer distance 1st class journey (which is rare but not unheard of)


I heard loads of complaint from fellow passengers when they first started on the GN. I'm talking about normal commuters, not enthusiasts.

I quite like 365 first, it has the advantage over the 700s of being a bit more private. However I’d agree that the 700 setup is probably better for people wanting to crack on with work.

The trouble with first on the 700s is that noise seems to carry. It only takes someone having a conversation at the other end of the section (or in some cases even the other side of the swing door) and for some reason it really seems to carry in a particularly irritating way. A bit of carpet would probably help deaden things. Apart from that the 700 first setup IMO isn’t bad, it’s what standard should have been.
 

AM9

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The trouble with first on the 700s is that noise seems to carry. It only takes someone having a conversation at the other end of the section (or in some cases even the other side of the swing door) and for some reason it really seems to carry in a particularly irritating way. A bit of carpet would probably help deaden things. Apart from that the 700 first setup IMO isn’t bad, it’s what standard should have been.
If I had such hypersensitivity to others, I'd take my own steps to deal with it, e.g. ear plugs/defenders etc.. There are more important things in transport than to guarantee every person their own insulated environment.
 

Aictos

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Reliable? That’s a matter of conjecture - it’s pretty much guaranteed to get up the departure board for my station and see at least one “cancelled due to a fault on this train” showing. A reminder that at one point in National Express WAGN and FCC days (before the crewing issues kicked off) cancellation of a GN outer service for any reason was proper rare.

Not saying that this isn’t to be expected with a new(ish) train, but reliability is by no means a bed of sweet roses.
You must be unlucky, I have never ever had a cancellation due to a train fault as it's always due to disruption be it trespassers, fatality or more likely lack of train crew.

Never have I've seen it like you portray....
 

Bletchleyite

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I agree with this. I've consistently said a 365 style layout would be the optimum layout on the 700s. By all means have fewer seats by the doors to create more standing but the general seating layout on a 365 is hard to beat. I can't remember anyone complaining about seating on 365s - actually one person did post on here a couple of years ago to say how awful it was a but it turned out he'd never travelled on one!

So not dissimilar to the 195/331 but with more airline seats?
 

Hadders

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So not dissimilar to the 195/331 but with more airline seats?
Yes pretty much. Remove the arm rest between the seats and the one aisle side to gain a couple of extra inches space in the centre aisle.
 

Bletchleyite

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Yes pretty much. Remove the arm rest between the seats and the one aisle side to gain a couple of extra inches space in the centre aisle.

The 365 doesn't remove the centre one as such, it removes the actual armrest but not the spacer.

I think that gives you something a bit like Merseyrail units or 172s - pretty comfortable as you're not pushed against the wall and have personal space from the next person.
 

Hadders

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The 365 doesn't remove the centre one as such, it removes the actual armrest but not the spacer.

I think that gives you something a bit like Merseyrail units or 172s - pretty comfortable as you're not pushed against the wall and have personal space from the next person.
That's right, on the 365s the space is still there between the seats but no actual armrest. The seats nearest the doors don't have the space (presumably to get a little extra space in the aisle by the doors). I could live with that as long as the seats weren't pushed right up against the side wall of the train - that is the main problem with the seats on the 700s.
 

bramling

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If I had such hypersensitivity to others, I'd take my own steps to deal with it, e.g. ear plugs/defenders etc.. There are more important things in transport than to guarantee every person their own insulated environment.

Do feel free to post times and places next time you’re planning one of your declassified first journeys. I’m sure we can arrange for some irritating noises to be broadcast for the duration of the journey, since this clearly isn’t a problem for you! ;)

I didn’t say anything about having an insulated environment (though the last year has de-facto tended to provide that). However there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to provide a more peaceful journey - you can’t argue that this would be to the detriment of capacity capability which is the normal justification for some of the 700’s unpopular features.
 
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AM9

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Do feel free to post times and places next time you’re planning one of your declassified first journeys. I’m sure we can arrange for some irritating noises to be broadcast for the duration of the journey, since this clearly isn’t a problem for you! ;)

I didn’t say anything about having an insulated environment (though the last year has de-facto tended to provide that). However there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to provide a more peaceful journey.
You should re-read my post. I said "If I had ...", in other words, I was saying what I would do. I have endured noises from others during much longer journeys that the 18 minutes from St Albans to St Pancras, as recent as 2018 from Paddington to St Erth, - it can be irritating but I just ignore it. You should try it sometimes, - if it doesn't work, you could do as I suggest, i.e. shield your ears. Remember, trains are 'public transport', and both you and I are members of the public whilst travelling on them.
It's a shame (but mildly amusing sometimes) that you resort to comments carping about me travelling perfectly legitimately, in the slightly better declassified 1st class accommodation at the rear of the class 700s.
 

bramling

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You should re-read my post. I said "If I had ...", in other words, I was saying what I would do. I have endured noises from others during much longer journeys that the 18 minutes from St Albans to St Pancras, as recent as 2018 from Paddington to St Erth, - it can be irritating but I just ignore it. You should try it sometimes, - if it doesn't work, you could do as I suggest, i.e. shield your ears. Remember, trains are 'public transport', and both you and I are members of the public whilst travelling on them.
It's a shame (but mildly amusing sometimes) that you resort to comments carping about me travelling perfectly legitimately, in the slightly better declassified 1st class accommodation at the rear of the class 700s.

The thing is, I find it hard to reconcile that you advocate how the standard interior of the 700 (which is what the vast majority of people will use, many people no doubt being aware of the declassification) is entirely adequate, yet we know that you will where practicable seek out something better. I’m not sure why you would go to the bother of doing that if standard is as adequate and fit-for-purpose as you never fail to inform us all, especially as first isn’t particularly convenient to the platform entrances at both St Albans and St Pancras.

As regards the original point, yes I could wear ear defenders. Or I could just travel by car like many people do. Other types of trains don’t seem to have this issue so I wouldn’t regard myself as hypersensitive; it seems to be simply the case that the 700 has a higher proportion of surfaces which seem to amplify rather than deaden noise.
 

Energy

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it seems to be simply the case that the 700 has a higher proportion of surfaces which seem to amplify rather than deaden noise.
They have less soft surfaces, even fitting carpet would have helped.
 

A0wen

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When the 700s replaced the 319s on the MML side of Thameslink in many respects they were considered an upgrade. Passengers no longer routinely left behind, 2+2 seating replacing the much hated 3+2, even thouhh they were ironing boards.

What DfT/GTR hadn't banked on was that when they came to the Great Northern side they were a significant downgrade on the 365s. The GN side never suffered with over crowding like the MML, and the 365s gave a good level of comfort and passenger environment (even though recent refreshes could be considered a downgrade). Understandably passengers kicked off which explains in part why things like seat back tables were added.

What everyone seems to be forgetting when they're busy citing the 365s on the GN is they only provided some of the services - a fair number were provided using 317s or 321s, complete with 2+3 seating, along with 4 car units at weekends on the outer suburban stoppers which were often chronically overcrowded. The 700s remove that 'lottery' of whether you'll get on the train, which variant you'll get etc. That's all good for the passenger.
 

bramling

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What everyone seems to be forgetting when they're busy citing the 365s on the GN is they only provided some of the services - a fair number were provided using 317s or 321s, complete with 2+3 seating, along with 4 car units at weekends on the outer suburban stoppers which were often chronically overcrowded. The 700s remove that 'lottery' of whether you'll get on the train, which variant you'll get etc. That's all good for the passenger.

The weekend issue you mentioned was more to do with the platforms at Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton not being extended. Some work still has to be done to plan 700s using these stations, so this was more an infrastructure rather than rolling stock issue.

It’s fair to say 365s were in the majority on the GN, 40x 365 versus 25x 317/321, with the latter tending to be heavily concentrated on peak hours only.
 

AM9

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The thing is, I find it hard to reconcile that you advocate how the standard interior of the 700 (which is what the vast majority of people will use, many people no doubt being aware of the declassification) is entirely adequate, yet we know that you will where practicable seek out something better. I’m not sure why you would go to the bother of doing that if standard is as adequate and fit-for-purpose as you never fail to inform us all, especially as first isn’t particularly convenient to the platform entrances at both St Albans and St Pancras. ...
I do use standard class when it suits me, but as you say where practicable, I take the end cars. So do many other passengers, - it's no longer a travellers secret. For many of the journeys that do take, e.g. to STP, the rear of the train is convenient, especially on an 8-car service as the walk to the rear is done during waiting time and the shorter walk forward at STP allows those rushing to be first up the escalator to clear. For West Hampstead, the new footbridge is towards the rear of the train, soon there will be a new bridge at the rear of the down trains at St Albans. In the core, all of the stations (except STP) have entrances/exits at both ends of their platforms, and when I return from Brighton or destinations via the South Bank entrance, it is a no brainer.

As regards the original point, yes I could wear ear defenders. Or I could just travel by car like many people do. Other types of trains don’t seem to have this issue so I wouldn’t regard myself as hypersensitive; it seems to be simply the case that the 700 has a higher proportion of surfaces which seem to amplify rather than deaden noise.
Maybe passengers are not so noisy on the TL MML fasts. :)
 
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