Diesel passenger comfort going backwards

Status
Not open for further replies.

Robin GX

Member
Joined
29 Dec 2011
Messages
8
Location
Gerrards Cross
Yesterday I travelled from Birmingham to Newcastle on a Cross Country Voyager. An efficient journey but marred by the incessant grunt and vibration of the diesel engines right below me. Being a regular Chiltern traveller I am used to this, but it is such a relief to ride electric when on the West Coast line, and it makes one realise how little of the UK's railways are electrified.

Then today I am back down to London on a 35 year old 125, with power cars at the front and rear only, and suddenly it dawns on me how diesel passenger comfort has gone backwards over the last 30 years.

And all this aside from the fact that the First Class interior of the East Coast 125s is so much more spacious and comfortable than a Voyager or Pendolino's.

Does it have to be like this?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

starrymarkb

Established Member
Joined
4 Aug 2009
Messages
5,986
Location
Exeter
159s are pretty good, there is a rumble and whine on departure and a faint chugging once the direct drive engages at 50mphish...
 

anthony263

Established Member
Joined
19 Aug 2008
Messages
5,722
Location
South Wales
the class 1758/159 & 175's are pretty nice to travel although as others have said there is a rumble when the train is departing but apart from that they are ok.

I cant speak for the class 172's as I have yet to have a full trip on one to make an opinion and the only class 170's I have been on were crosscountrys between Cardiff & Newport or between Gloucester & Worcester and they did vibrate a bit an rumble even after departure.
 

LE Greys

Established Member
Joined
6 Mar 2010
Messages
5,389
Location
Hitchin
Well, passenger comfort on all stock has been going backwards since the 1950s anyway. I reckon it peaked in the Edwardian period, then continued through the Big Four era - the most comfortable general-service coach I ever travelled in was a Stanier TK on the SVR - then the peak ended with the BR MkI and it's all been downhill from there. All in the name of cost. I can appreciate the need for airline seating, you can get more seats in, but comfortable padding under your backside is surely not that expensive. Anyway, it's a one-time cost compared with the extra passengers that a comfortable train might attract/retain.
 

aylesbury

Member
Joined
3 Feb 2012
Messages
622
The 168,s are pretty good as are Transpennine units ,agree about HST,s did a round trip to Penzance recently in first class .This is how rail travel should be ,quiet with comfortable seats plus good customer service.I have only been on a Voyager once and did not find it to bad.
 

Schnellzug

Established Member
Joined
22 Aug 2011
Messages
2,926
Location
Evercreech Junction
I don't mind a bit of grunt. :lol:

Actually, I don't mind the big Cummins engines, it can feel quite exhilirating opening up to full power when you're sweeping through a station, but I reailise I may not be altogether typical of all passengers, I am willing to admit. :lol:
I think really, the question of seat comfort is something that can apply to all kinds of stock; and I think it's beyond question that comfort has deteriorated dramatically since the 1980s. They can use excuses that "we have to squeeze as many seats in as we can now, you know", but that really is just an excuse, and is no excuse for providing poorly designed and inadequately padded seats, it really isn't. This is nothing to do with privatisation either, the BR 1980s generation rolling stock (Sprinters and EMUs), while still, I think, unrivalled for ride quality, really were designed as cheaply as possible inside.
 

jopsuk

Veteran Member
Joined
13 May 2008
Messages
12,527
Anyway, it's a one-time cost compared with the extra passengers that a comfortable train might attract/retain.

When trains are full and bursting, there's no drive to attract or retain additional passengers
 

Darandio

Established Member
Joined
24 Feb 2007
Messages
8,854
Location
Redcar
The 168,s are pretty good as are Transpennine units ,agree about HST,s did a round trip to Penzance recently in first class .This is how rail travel should be ,quiet with comfortable seats plus good customer service.I have only been on a Voyager once and did not find it to bad.

I'll agree on the 185's, for me they do strike a good balance between having underslung engines and overall comfort, although the seats can leave a lot to be desired, especially on longer journeys.

Voyagers I can cope with, or at least in the early days. Now though, many are starting to develop more annoying rattles with some of the fold down tables starting to loosen slightly, the vibration and rattle can be annoying, again on a longer journey.
 

TheJRB

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2011
Messages
1,165
Location
Ashford, Kent
As it's almost all electrified in Kent, it serves quite a surprise when you travel on a 171 from Ashford to Brighton. The seats are comfortable (I don't know why Turbostar seats are better than Electrostar seats but they definitely seem to be) but the vibrating is noticeable and gets a bit annoying after a while.

I was quite surprised when I went to the Spa Valley railway last year and sat in the Class 101 coach; the seats were incredibly comfortable. But then when I was on the Thumper 201 last month, I must say the journey between Tonbridge and Orpington was quite bumpy to say the least as it picked up speed, especially when trying to drink an open cup of coffee!
 

Oswyntail

Established Member
Joined
23 May 2009
Messages
4,183
Location
Yorkshire
Unsurprisingly, comfort is a subjective thing, and designers can only hope to compromise. Appreciation of legroom depends on the ratio of fibula to tibia; even the amount of padding required depends very much on the amount of back support for each individual spine. We can look back at pre-Mk3 stock, and forget that it was poorly soundproofed, hard to clean, and with heating mechanisms that recognised only "stuffy" and "Freezing". The later Mk2 series through to Mk4 have all included an ambience that encourages one to feel comfortable, and this has been carried through to the new MUs. I do believe that this is half the battle in providing comfort to passengers. Pacers and Sprinters were, understandably, somewhat Spartan, so they do not have the "feel"; while appropriate for most of their tasks, this does compromise their use on longer routes.
Which leaves us with the Voyager/Pendolino problem. I personally do not feel the noise/vibration is obtrusive (but I am quite deaf!). However, perhaps because of a poor interpretation of tilt requirements, perhaps because of a misguided view that air travel is "luxurious" and "comfortable", both these classes seem to have been designed to resemble aircraft internally, with low ceilings, and small, inconveniently placed windows. The "feel" is claustrophobic, and, IMHO, in-conducive to an overall satisfaction with comfort.
 

starrymarkb

Established Member
Joined
4 Aug 2009
Messages
5,986
Location
Exeter
However, perhaps because of a poor interpretation of tilt requirements, perhaps because of a misguided view that air travel is "luxurious" and "comfortable", both these classes seem to have been designed to resemble aircraft internally, with low ceilings, and small, inconveniently placed windows. The "feel" is claustrophobic, and, IMHO, in-conducive to an overall satisfaction with comfort.

Nothing what so ever to do with Air Travel - that is an enthusiast myth. Voyager Windows are huge (and the pillars are about the same as a Mk3 IIRC) and with the Pendolino the low window height is because of the structure with a rib running above and below the window. This is common to all of the last generation of EuroPendolinos (the New Pendolino launched a couple of years ago has much taller windows). The Pendo structure is very strong for its weight. UK Pendolinos also have roof mounted equipment (like the 25kV bus and all the insulation that UK regs require around it)
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
26,786
Location
Yorks
I must say the journey between Tonbridge and Orpington was quite bumpy to say the least as it picked up speed, especially when trying to drink an open cup of coffee!

Ah, but the seats do let you bounce with the train :D (Unless you were in the CEP carriage obviously !).
 

Schnellzug

Established Member
Joined
22 Aug 2011
Messages
2,926
Location
Evercreech Junction
Nothing what so ever to do with Air Travel - that is an enthusiast myth. Voyager Windows are huge (and the pillars are about the same as a Mk3 IIRC) and with the Pendolino the low window height is because of the structure with a rib running above and below the window. This is common to all of the last generation of EuroPendolinos (the New Pendolino launched a couple of years ago has much taller windows). The Pendo structure is very strong for its weight. UK Pendolinos also have roof mounted equipment (like the 25kV bus and all the insulation that UK regs require around it)

The body structure, perhaps; but the interior layout was designed to Virgin's specification, so that is their fault. (If one doesn't like it.)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
*

As it's almost all electrified in Kent, it serves quite a surprise when you travel on a 171 from Ashford to Brighton. The seats are comfortable (I don't know why Turbostar seats are better than Electrostar seats but they definitely seem to be) but the vibrating is noticeable and gets a bit annoying after a while.

I was quite surprised when I went to the Spa Valley railway last year and sat in the Class 101 coach; the seats were incredibly comfortable. But then when I was on the Thumper 201 last month, I must say the journey between Tonbridge and Orpington was quite bumpy to say the least as it picked up speed, especially when trying to drink an open cup of coffee!

Oh yes, the question of ride quality is another kettle of worms. The DEMUs (and the CEPs) were, I believe, notorious for ride quality with the original bogeys, and to be honest the VEPs and CIGs with B5 bogeys were rather notorious for their bounciness; maybe it was something to do with the dynamics of multiple units. I think that's one area where BR did get it very much right in the 70s and 80s; i think they reached a peak of ride quality that's declined since (a 444 isn't a patch on a 442, and a Voyager is hardly an improvement on a 158 or even a 150).
 

junglejames

Established Member
Joined
8 Dec 2010
Messages
2,069
Yep.

In fact, we've had underfloor engined DMUs for a hell of a lot longer than 30 years. Some enthusiasts still can't deal with the fact. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of passengers couldn't give a monkeys.

Will you stop keeping on. You think passengers couldnt give a monkeys. But you dont know for sure. You have no idea what they prefer. You just want them to like what you like. In fact, you seem to think everyone should like what you like, and if they dare disagree with you, you mark them down as an enthusiast, as if enthusiasts arent actually normal passengers themselves.

Oh, and I think we all know how long DMUs have been around, but that isnt the point here.
 

ainsworth74

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
22,908
Location
Redcar
Will you stop keeping on. You think passengers couldnt give a monkeys. But you dont know for sure. You have no idea what they prefer. You just want them to like what you like. In fact, you seem to think everyone should like what you like, and if they dare disagree with you, you mark them down as an enthusiast, as if enthusiasts arent actually normal passengers themselves.

Erm pot, kettle, black?
 

LE Greys

Established Member
Joined
6 Mar 2010
Messages
5,389
Location
Hitchin
Oh yes, the question of ride quality is another kettle of worms. The DEMUs (and the CEPs) were, I believe, notorious for ride quality with the original bogeys, and to be honest the VEPs and CIGs with B5 bogeys were rather notorious for their bounciness; maybe it was something to do with the dynamics of multiple units. I think that's one area where BR did get it very much right in the 70s and 80s; i think they reached a peak of ride quality that's declined since (a 444 isn't a patch on a 442, and a Voyager is hardly an improvement on a 158 or even a 150).

Well, I agree with that! Always thought the Commonwealth bogie version were the best, but that's just my opinion. The leaf-spring versions were quite bad early on, but then they weren't really designed for sustained 100 mph running, and have always run fine on every preserved line I've been on (low speed helps). Still, the BT-10 and the T4 were both excellent designs, and fitting various similar bogies to multiple units was generally a good thing, partly because these units never get anywhere near 125.

Best ride of any British stock so far was a Eurostar, in which you fealt as though you were floating on a cushion of air. Again, it was nowhere near maximum speed, and that probably helped.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Unsurprisingly, comfort is a subjective thing, and designers can only hope to compromise. Appreciation of legroom depends on the ratio of fibula to tibia; even the amount of padding required depends very much on the amount of back support for each individual spine. We can look back at pre-Mk3 stock, and forget that it was poorly soundproofed, hard to clean, and with heating mechanisms that recognised only "stuffy" and "Freezing". The later Mk2 series through to Mk4 have all included an ambience that encourages one to feel comfortable, and this has been carried through to the new MUs. I do believe that this is half the battle in providing comfort to passengers. Pacers and Sprinters were, understandably, somewhat Spartan, so they do not have the "feel"; while appropriate for most of their tasks, this does compromise their use on longer routes.
Which leaves us with the Voyager/Pendolino problem. I personally do not feel the noise/vibration is obtrusive (but I am quite deaf!). However, perhaps because of a poor interpretation of tilt requirements, perhaps because of a misguided view that air travel is "luxurious" and "comfortable", both these classes seem to have been designed to resemble aircraft internally, with low ceilings, and small, inconveniently placed windows. The "feel" is claustrophobic, and, IMHO, in-conducive to an overall satisfaction with comfort.

Well, yes, there is that. Most of the older stock I've been in has been preserved, so it's bound to be in good nick and not used very intensively.

I can also add a few subjective factors
  1. I tend to like the temperature several degrees colder than most people
  2. I like draughts
  3. I am used to old-fashioned seats at home
  4. I am not very tall
  5. The sound of plastic moving against plastic makes me want to stick out my tounge and bite it! <(
 

Yew

Established Member
Joined
12 Mar 2011
Messages
5,019
Location
Nottingham
Best ride of any British stock so far was a Eurostar, in which you fealt as though you were floating on a cushion of air. Again, it was nowhere near maximum speed, and that probably helped.

Maybe the Secondary air suspension is responsible for that :) The 18m distance between centres helps too. (although the APT had a 21m distance :) )
 

junglejames

Established Member
Joined
8 Dec 2010
Messages
2,069
Erm pot, kettle, black?

At least i cant accept other peoples opinions, which i try to make obvious (although it may not always come across) when discussing such subjects.
Unlike this certain someone who puts everybody in the same strange basket if they disagree with him.
 

bronzeonion

Member
Joined
1 Apr 2009
Messages
673
Location
West London
Diesel passenger comfort has gone downhill, on different gradients depending on the train you are talking about.

The Voyager for example has too much plastic cladding inside, underneath windows etc to make it look 'modern' which was modern back in 2001 but now looks dated but the seats arn't bad.

Meridians are pretty much Voyagers with lessons learnt. more carriages, less of the silly cladding inside, the sides are still slanted but its not as claustrophobic as a Voyager.

Adalante/Coradias are excellent trains, the 175's with ATW are nearly a modernised MK3 carriage inside, seats that line up with windows, hard but well shaped seats, plenty of tables and the same goes for Adalantes.

Turbostars in my opinion are more suitable than a Voyager for long distance XC routes. The seats are more comfortable, less of the claustrophobic interior, smart looking and in general a better design.

I can't comment on the 185's because I've never had one for haulage.
 

YorkshireBear

Established Member
Joined
23 Jul 2010
Messages
7,832
Lets all just slag of the voyagers again shall we? :/ People obviously DO NOT hate them or XC patronage would not have gone through the roof and continued to rise after overcrowding....
Notice i say do not hate, rather than like.
 

Schnellzug

Established Member
Joined
22 Aug 2011
Messages
2,926
Location
Evercreech Junction
Lets all just slag of the voyagers again shall we? :/ People obviously DO NOT hate them or XC patronage would not have gone through the roof and continued to rise after overcrowding....
Notice i say do not hate, rather than like.

This isn't the 'unpopular Opinions' thread.
In fact, that's given me an idea.
 

Robbies

Established Member
Joined
20 Sep 2009
Messages
1,997
Location
Berkshire
Yesterday I travelled from Birmingham to Newcastle on a Cross Country Voyager. An efficient journey but marred by the incessant grunt and vibration of the diesel engines right below me. Being a regular Chiltern traveller I am used to this, but it is such a relief to ride electric when on the West Coast line, and it makes one realise how little of the UK's railways are electrified.

Then today I am back down to London on a 35 year old 125, with power cars at the front and rear only, and suddenly it dawns on me how diesel passenger comfort has gone backwards over the last 30 years.

And all this aside from the fact that the First Class interior of the East Coast 125s is so much more spacious and comfortable than a Voyager or Pendolino's.

Does it have to be like this?

You obviously have not been in the Chiltern Bubble Cars or can go back to the days of the Class 101 multiple units.

Having been a passenger in Class 101, Voyagers, Adelantes, Eurostars, Pendolinos, Electric Desiros, Electrostars here is my top 12:

1) Adelante
2) HST
3) Eurostar
4) Electric Desros
5) Electrostar
6) Voyagers
7) Turbostar
8) Class 165/166/168
9) Pacers
10) Metrolink trams
11) Class 101/Mk 1 diesels
12) Junipers
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
26,786
Location
Yorks
Personally, I wouldn't be able to class all Mk 1 diesels in the same category, as I've always found Southern Region DEMU's to have much more comfortable seating than 101's for example.

That said, some of the 1st gen DMU's seemed very comfortable though - the 127 springs to mind.
 

HSTEd

Veteran Member
Joined
14 Jul 2011
Messages
12,545
Is this just a result of increasingly thinner seats to pack more in?

I remember when I got on that Hull Trains loco hauled Mark 3 formation from aaages ago, the seats were ridiculously comfortable (haven't felt seats like that since the Mallard upgrade, brought back memories of the IC Swallow era).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top