Face to face tables...a dying sight?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Clansman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2016
Messages
2,274
Travelled down to Penzance today on a GWR HST, and as I was walking through the coaches to get to my seat I noticed the lack to full tables. I've never seen such a cramped looking interior since my last trip in a Voyager at peak time. Is there a reason why TOCs are going "airline" with their interiors? Look at the comparison between Scotrail and EMT for example - regarding their 158s: Onboard a Scotrail 158, there is 1 full table for ever 2 sets of airline seats, where as on an EMT 158 there is about 5 pairs for every 1 full table - both TOCs use the same seats. Why are some TOCs going airline, particularly in England?

My only guess would be to maximise the seating provision...although wouldn't turning 1 set of airline seats to face another constitute the same space as a table of 4 anyway, or does having airline seats add a little more space to cram in some extra pairs?
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

greaterwest

Established Member
Joined
23 Nov 2014
Messages
1,185
I believe there is one carriage per set that has majority full tables (1 table per 2 airline or so) on GWR HSTs.
 

D6975

Established Member
Joined
26 Nov 2009
Messages
2,261
Location
Bristol
A Mk3 as delivered to BR(W) had 48 seats in FC and 72 seats in SC.
The SC had 64 seats around tables and just 8 airline style (4 at each end)
How many seats do the current GW Mk3 SOs have? I can remember they were changed to 76, and I think some have been further modified to cram even more in.
 

didcotdean

Member
Joined
25 Jun 2013
Messages
126
Yet if you request to reserve an airline seat often you can still find yourself sitting at a table. Happened to me in two out of the last three bookings.
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
Much though I used to like full tables, the advent of so much desk top equipment carried and spread out by people makes them more of a liability these days. Airline style at least gives you your own space and allows full-ish leg stretching. You also don't have to watch the person opposite yawning cavernously, picking their nose, eating with their mouth open, moving their lips as they read, etc.
 

Clansman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2016
Messages
2,274
Much though I used to like full tables, the advent of so much desk top equipment carried and spread out by people makes them more of a liability these days. Airline style at least gives you your own space and allows full-ish leg stretching. You also don't have to watch the person opposite yawning cavernously, picking their nose, eating with their mouth open, moving their lips as they read, etc.

I understand on that side of things, but many of time when I have travelled on the likes of GWR and XC have I had a young child (not that I have a problem with it) sit next to me because their family of 4 couldn't get reservations around a table whereas the tables in that coach have 4 folk around them only making use of the plug sockets. This is when a coach of just tables would come in handy, like the convertible coach on Virgin Voyagers next to the shop.
 

TheManBehind

Member
Joined
26 Sep 2012
Messages
114
With "more trains" not being as easy an option as any of us would like, the reality is that when TOCs look to provide more seats, there's only one way to do it - remove anything that wastes space.

Unfortunately, I suspect the HSTs are being more converted to satisfy the Reading commuter crowd who (rightly or wrongly) demand seats on busy commuter trains from further west.
 
Joined
13 Feb 2011
Messages
792
Location
Cardiff
Travelled down to Penzance today on a GWR HST, and as I was walking through the coaches to get to my seat I noticed the lack to full tables. I've never seen such a cramped looking interior since my last trip in a Voyager at peak time. Is there a reason why TOCs are going "airline" with their interiors? Look at the comparison between Scotrail and EMT for example - regarding their 158s: Onboard a Scotrail 158, there is 1 full table for ever 2 sets of airline seats, where as on an EMT 158 there is about 5 pairs for every 1 full table - both TOCs use the same seats. Why are some TOCs going airline, particularly in England?

When FGW refurbished their HST sets in c2008 they claimed that they'd surveyed their passengers who preferred airline type seats (I remember reading and thinking, well I prefer the other but anyway).

FGW have two types of HSTs out a 'high density' and a 'low density' set.
High density have 2 tables per carriage, low density have four tables per carriage. I can only speak for the South Wales diagrams but low density are used for London-Swansea and high density for London-Cardiff services.
 

fishquinn

Established Member
Associate Staff
Quizmaster
Joined
4 Oct 2013
Messages
6,618
Location
Warwickshire
Chiltern are very good at providing tables on their silver sets. It is pretty much all tables with only a couple of airline seats right at the vestibule end of the coach.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Chiltern are very good at providing tables on their silver sets. It is pretty much all tables with only a couple of airline seats right at the vestibule end of the coach.

I'd rather those had more airline seats. About half and half per the original Class 158 layout seems about right to me.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
20,917
Location
Nottingham
If there was enough room to use a reasonable sized laptop at an "airline" seat then I'd happily forego a table seat. The only standard class seat that I've found that allows this is on Eurostar (where by contrast the table seats are far too close together). As mentioned, face-to-back seats often don't have power sockets either.
 

cactustwirly

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
6,229
Location
UK
Chiltern are very good at providing tables on their silver sets. It is pretty much all tables with only a couple of airline seats right at the vestibule end of the coach.

That's because they retain the original seating layout.

Sounds like the OP had a HD set on a SW diagram. Some idiot at GWR/FGW decided that Bristol and Penzance trains should interwork, therefore the HD & LD sets get mixed up!

The original idea was that HD were primarily for M4 corridor commuter services (ie Bristol and Cardiff) and the LD sets for longer distance services (ie Penzance and Swansea)
 

DynamicSpirit

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2012
Messages
5,149
When FGW refurbished their HST sets in c2008 they claimed that they'd surveyed their passengers who preferred airline type seats (I remember reading and thinking, well I prefer the other but anyway).

I would hazard a guess of some misuse of survey results. Probably they did a survey and it came out something like 2/3 preferred airline style, 1/3 preferred tables, and someone thought 'ah, majority for airline style, so we'll make almost all our seats airline', when the correct conclusion is actually, different people like different things, so you should arrange the coaches so that people have a choice. I've seen other cases where it looks like businesses have done the same thing (although none where I've had enough internal access to be certain). Of course in this case, the need to maximize capacity is possibly also a factor.

I understand on that side of things, but many of time when I have travelled on the likes of GWR and XC have I had a young child (not that I have a problem with it) sit next to me because their family of 4 couldn't get reservations around a table whereas the tables in that coach have 4 folk around them only making use of the plug sockets. This is when a coach of just tables would come in handy, like the convertible coach on Virgin Voyagers next to the shop.

Presumably the solution to that is to provide power sockets at all seats. (Which I suspect is what will increasingly happen on new long-distance stock). I've often sat at a table just to get the power socket when I'd have otherwise been perfectly happy with an airline-style seat.
 

Flamingo

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2010
Messages
6,810
If there was enough room to use a reasonable sized laptop at an "airline" seat then I'd happily forego a table seat. The only standard class seat that I've found that allows this is on Eurostar (where by contrast the table seats are far too close together). As mentioned, face-to-back seats often don't have power sockets either.

All airline seats on GWR HST's have a socket, down below knee level between the seats. The little wire pull-out on the table is to accomidate a laptop.

Given the number of people that think the four seats around the table are theirs once they sit in one of them, at least with airline-style seats they only block two (the best I have seen recently was the chap with a bag on the seat beside him, coat across the seat opposite him, and suitcase across the double seat behind him. He did not seem to care that the train was fairly busy, and was not happy to be told to move everything.)

Airline-style seats do provide more seats in a carriage for passengers, therefore are a good thing, IMHO, I'd rather sit 80 passengers in airline-style seats than have 64 sitting at tables and have 20-odd standing through the carriage.
 
Last edited:

BanburyBlue

Member
Joined
18 May 2015
Messages
476
The issue with airline seats is the lack of legroom. I'm tall (6' 4"), but wouldn't say I'm exceptionally tall. On XC voyagers it's okay as long as you can find one of the airline 'priority seats', otherwise I just can't get comfy in a standard airline seat. Hence I love the table seats.

And I'm always wary of 'customer surveys'. It seems to me that train companies use these to justify doing potentially unpopular things. For example, when XC took over from Virgin on the Crosscountry franchise, they used the 'our customers told us they preferred a trolley service to an onboard shop' line to justify shutting the shops down to squeeze in an extra 12 seats. The same applies to airline style seating. You notice they never say who/how many said, and how/where the survey/comments came from.
 

Sprinter153

Member
Joined
12 Aug 2014
Messages
434
Location
In the TGS
Sounds like the OP had a HD set on a SW diagram. Some idiot at GWR/FGW decided that Bristol and Penzance trains should interwork, therefore the HD & LD sets get mixed up!

Ah yes, woe betide anyone make a planning decision for operational efficiency or business reasons. As long as there are lots of table seats. :roll:
 

iantherev

Member
Joined
3 Apr 2011
Messages
736
Location
Brecon Beacons
With "more trains" not being as easy an option as any of us would like, the reality is that when TOCs look to provide more seats, there's only one way to do it - remove anything that wastes space.

Unfortunately, I suspect the HSTs are being more converted to satisfy the Reading commuter crowd who (rightly or wrongly) demand seats on busy commuter trains from further west.

I know it's common practice to blame the Reading Commuter for everything that's wrong with GWR but at busy times the high capacity does all get used on services to Devon & Cornwall.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Ah yes, woe betide anyone make a planning decision for operational efficiency or business reasons. As long as there are lots of table seats. :roll:

Could it have been a 'step-up' or diagram swap because of a delay to the booked set? It happens.
 

Tetchytyke

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Sep 2013
Messages
11,616
Location
Isle of Man
Ah yes, woe betide anyone make a planning decision for operational efficiency or business reasons. As long as there are lots of table seats. :roll:

FGW kept the low density sets for the holiday traffic down to the south west, they expressly stated that at the time. It went out of the window because, well, First.

I prefer airline seats when I'm travelling alone- I don't have to play footsie to get comfortable- but travelling in airline seats with the missus and my kid is...challenging.
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
Ah yes, woe betide anyone make a planning decision for operational efficiency or business reasons. As long as there are lots of table seats. :roll:

So why have the two types of layout if not for specific routes/sectors? Interworking simply negates the purpose of the different layouts:roll:.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
20,917
Location
Nottingham
All airline seats on GWR HST's have a socket, down below knee level between the seats. The little wire pull-out on the table is to accomidate a laptop.

I'm not a frequent user of GWR HSTs but that sounds like the position used on the new Eurostar e320s. It's an extremely poor design when you consider that the device itself will probably be sitting on the table, so someone alighting from a window seat risks catching either their own cable or their neighbour's and possibly pulling the devices onto the floor, unless the owner remembers to unplug their power lead or put their device onto the seat instead.

On the other hand with the inadequate seat pitch on most British face-to-back seating it's pretty much impossible to get past a folded-down table anyway, so maybe this matters less than on the Eurostars.

It's usually possible to get a laptop physically onto a seat back table, though it will wobble uselessly unless the table is flat or the laptop is very small. But the screen has to be viewed nearly square on, and when it's at table level that means tipping it backwards . This is usually impossible because the slope of the seat in front means the laptop has to be slid forward on the table. Even if there is room to do this, it will most likely overbalance.

So while I can use a laptop at a table seat without taking up more than my allotted quarter of the table, I can't do so in most face-to-back seats. This is a big deal for me as I do probably three or four hours work on trains in the average week, nearly all of it on the laptop. Anything that involves more than one piece of paper needs more space than the laptop.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Airline-style seats do provide more seats in a carriage for passengers, therefore are a good thing, IMHO, I'd rather sit 80 passengers in airline-style seats than have 64 sitting at tables and have 20-odd standing through the carriage.

If GWR management does something to get the Reading commuters onto the commuter trains (which in future will have much more capacity for them) then the longer-distance ones could have a more suitable layout, not one intended to hold the maximum possible on the first or last half hour of each journey.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
If GWR management does something to get the Reading commuters onto the commuter trains (which in future will have much more capacity for them) then the longer-distance ones could have a more suitable layout, not one intended to hold the maximum possible on the first or last half hour of each journey.

We can but hope, as it is a tremendous waste of capacity west of Reading.

Hopefully if Crossrail effectively kills HEx, the HEx paths could instead be used for a fast Reading-(Slough)-Paddington high-density 12-car EMU shuttle, 4tph peak, 2tph off-peak, say. All the HSTs/IEPs could then become "u"/"s" at Reading and reserved for InterCity passengers.
 

cactustwirly

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
6,229
Location
UK
We can but hope, as it is a tremendous waste of capacity west of Reading.

Hopefully if Crossrail effectively kills HEx, the HEx paths could instead be used for a fast Reading-(Slough)-Paddington high-density 12-car EMU shuttle, 4tph peak, 2tph off-peak, say. All the HSTs/IEPs could then become "u"/"s" at Reading and reserved for InterCity passengers.

I doubt that would be enough capacity, to fit everyone in

Where would you stick it at Reading? I doubt there are enough platforms to turn 4tph.
 

Ianigsy

Member
Joined
12 May 2015
Messages
676
Travelled down to Penzance today on a GWR HST, and as I was walking through the coaches to get to my seat I noticed the lack to full tables. I've never seen such a cramped looking interior since my last trip in a Voyager at peak time. Is there a reason why TOCs are going "airline" with their interiors? Look at the comparison between Scotrail and EMT for example - regarding their 158s: Onboard a Scotrail 158, there is 1 full table for ever 2 sets of airline seats, where as on an EMT 158 there is about 5 pairs for every 1 full table - both TOCs use the same seats. Why are some TOCs going airline, particularly in England?

My only guess would be to maximise the seating provision...although wouldn't turning 1 set of airline seats to face another constitute the same space as a table of 4 anyway, or does having airline seats add a little more space to cram in some extra pairs?

There's probably less consumer resistance than there would have been twenty or thirty years ago - people are more used to travelling for several hours at a time on budget airlines with little or nothing in the way of distractions, and nowadays a lot of people contemplating a long journey will have some sort of gadget to entertain them so they don't need a view. There's probably somebody here who can work out how many episodes of 'Game of Thrones' you can get through between Paddington and Penzance!
 

387star

On Moderation
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
6,194
Later refurbished mk3 coached have had more tables

387s have ample table provision
 

Hadders

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
27 Apr 2011
Messages
8,463
If GWR management does something to get the Reading commuters onto the commuter trains (which in future will have much more capacity for them) then the longer-distance ones could have a more suitable layout, not one intended to hold the maximum possible on the first or last half hour of each journey.

But those commuter trains are already wedged by the time they arrive at Paddington. There's simply not enough room on them.
 

abn444

Member
Joined
31 Jan 2016
Messages
111
We can but hope, as it is a tremendous waste of capacity west of Reading.

Hopefully if Crossrail effectively kills HEx, the HEx paths could instead be used for a fast Reading-(Slough)-Paddington high-density 12-car EMU shuttle, 4tph peak, 2tph off-peak, say. All the HSTs/IEPs could then become "u"/"s" at Reading and reserved for InterCity passengers.

I don't see that working because as far as I'm aware, Crossrail will only take over the Heathrow Connect services and not Heathrow Express so it won't free up 4 paths an hour.
 

louis97

Established Member
Joined
14 May 2008
Messages
1,471
Location
Derby
Some idiot at GWR/FGW decided that Bristol and Penzance trains should interwork, therefore the HD & LD sets get mixed up!

Not strictly true, On high speed there is no real pattern to trains interworking at Paddington. It really does vary throughout the day. A fair number of the Penzance services come off a inbound Swansea or Penzance train. It is just the nature of diagramming and events on the day that at some point you are going to end up with a train that is formed of the wrong type of set either planned or unplanned.
 

rebmcr

Established Member
Joined
15 Nov 2011
Messages
3,417
Location
Cambridge
I don't see that working because as far as I'm aware, Crossrail will only take over the Heathrow Connect services and not Heathrow Express so it won't free up 4 paths an hour.

Yes but then HeX could see its passenger numbers fall off a cliff, and give up running the service.
 

cactustwirly

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
6,229
Location
UK
Not strictly true, On high speed there is no real pattern to trains interworking at Paddington. It really does vary throughout the day. A fair number of the Penzance services come off a inbound Swansea or Penzance train. It is just the nature of diagramming and events on the day that at some point you are going to end up with a train that is formed of the wrong type of set either planned or unplanned.

I didn't look at all Penzance services, but I noticed from RTT some services from Bristol forming Penzance services (Swansea also) and vice versa
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
But those commuter trains are already wedged by the time they arrive at Paddington. There's simply not enough room on them.

They also take twice as long and are less frequent
 
Last edited:

47271

Established Member
Joined
28 Apr 2015
Messages
2,967
It's usually possible to get a laptop physically onto a seat back table, though it will wobble uselessly unless the table is flat or the laptop is very small. But the screen has to be viewed nearly square on, and when it's at table level that means tipping it backwards . This is usually impossible because the slope of the seat in front means the laptop has to be slid forward on the table. Even if there is room to do this, it will most likely overbalance.

So while I can use a laptop at a table seat without taking up more than my allotted quarter of the table, I can't do so in most face-to-back seats. This is a big deal for me as I do probably three or four hours work on trains in the average week, nearly all of it on the laptop. Anything that involves more than one piece of paper needs more space than the laptop.

The above hits the nail on the head for me. A laptop and any real work done on a seat back table in just about any TOC's Standard Class, don't make me laugh.

I think the worst ever experience I had with this was on a TPE 185, I thought that I was going to have a deep vein thrombosis, I've shelled out for First Class with them ever since.

Work or no work, I dislike the claustrophobia of airline seats and will always choose a table if I can find one, there's always more give and take with the space available.

As for hoggers with bags on seats, I know they're just taking the one, but I find that they're just as bad in airline style as tables. If I get one on a busy train, I've long since given up on speaking to them. I just stand and point at their bag for as long as they take to move it, works every time. It seems to disconcert the selfish idiots far more than an 'excuse me'!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top