SWR Class 444 first class refurbishment?

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GodAtum

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Travel today in first, for the 1st time in a while. There seems to be less first class seating, and if I remember correctly, on the previous layout there where single seats too? Maybe a lot less legroom too? Why the downgrade?
 
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Deepgreen

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My guess is that first class is dying. Fewer business trips as on line meetings increase. Standard class space can be made available by reducing first class - it's happening everywhere.
 

Bigfoot

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Travel today in first, for the 1st time in a while. There seems to be less first class seating, and if I remember correctly, on the previous layout there where single seats too? Maybe a lot less legroom too? Why the downgrade?
New franchise required more standard class seats. 444s have been like that for a couple of years now...
 

fgwrich

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New franchise required more standard class seats. 444s have been like that for a couple of years now...

Correct - the then new SWR Franchise insisted that first class was reduced on the 444, 450 & 158/9 fleets and removed altogether on the 458 fleets. The 450s saw their first class relocated to the space behind each cab, while the 444s saw theirs reduced by about 2 window bays length. Both have been re-configured to 2+2 - The 450s retraining their original seats, the 444s having the standard class FISA Lean installed (with a pretty hard base / leather covering). The 159 fleet are up next, although no designs have been released for this refurbishment yet.
 

dorsetdesiro

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Correct - the then new SWR Franchise insisted that first class was reduced on the 444, 450 & 158/9 fleets and removed altogether on the 458 fleets. The 450s saw their first class relocated to the space behind each cab, while the 444s saw theirs reduced by about 2 window bays length. Both have been re-configured to 2+2 - The 450s retraining their original seats, the 444s having the standard class FISA Lean installed (with a pretty hard base / leather covering). The 159 fleet are up next, although no designs have been released for this refurbishment yet.

442s got those new leather First Class FISA Leans too, same setup as 444s, then 158/9s probably will get the same when their refurb comes up
 

Journeyman

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SWR first class now looks extremely lousy indeed, and there's no way I'd fork out for it. Standard in 444s is pretty decent anyway.
 

DB

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Correct - the then new SWR Franchise insisted that first class was reduced on the 444, 450 & 158/9 fleets and removed altogether on the 458 fleets. The 450s saw their first class relocated to the space behind each cab, while the 444s saw theirs reduced by about 2 window bays length. Both have been re-configured to 2+2 - The 450s retraining their original seats, the 444s having the standard class FISA Lean installed (with a pretty hard base / leather covering). The 159 fleet are up next, although no designs have been released for this refurbishment yet.

Have the 458s had the seats removed or just declassified? As I recall first class on them was 2+2 Grammer IC3000 seats (the same as used in standard class on FGW HSTs and assorted 158s).
 

Journeyman

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Have the 458s had the seats removed or just declassified? As I recall first class on them was 2+2 Grammer IC3000 seats (the same as used in standard class on FGW HSTs and assorted 158s).
Weren't the units made standard class only as part of the five-car conversion programme?
 

DB

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Weren't the units made standard class only as part of the five-car conversion programme?

Thought that was only the ones where the whole unit was ex-460 vehicles?

The 159 fleet are up next, although no designs have been released for this refurbishment yet.

Haven't those already had an interior refurb done? Presumably if they are going to make further alterations to reduce first class it will just be to replace some of it with more of the original type of standard class seat (there will have been loads removed from the Northern units, if they've not all been skipped). First class on the 159s is currently 1+2 Chapman seating - I suppose they could replace that with 2+2, but if so there's little point in having first class at all.
 

43096

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Weren't the units made standard class only as part of the five-car conversion programme?

Thought that was only the ones where the whole unit was ex-460 vehicles?
Units 458501-530 retained their first class Grammer seats after the 5-car conversion as the intention was to transfer them to Reading services eventually. They were declassified at first after conversion, but first class was reinstated once they did move back to Reading services when the 707s arrived. With the Reading line downgraded to inner-suburban metro status by SWR, they are now declassified again. 458531-536 which were completely converted from Class 460 stock, have standard class seating throughout, although the outer ends of the units (where 501-530 have/had first class) does have arm-rests and tables, despite being finished in SWT red standard class moquette.
 

Journeyman

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Units 458501-530 retained their first class Grammer seats after the 5-car conversion as the intention was to transfer them to Reading services eventually. They were declassified at first after conversion, but first class was reinstated once they did move back to Reading services when the 707s arrived. With the Reading line downgraded to inner-suburban metro status by SWR, they are now declassified again. 458531-536 which were completely converted from Class 460 stock, have standard class seating throughout, although the outer ends of the units (where 501-530 have/had first class) does have arm-rests and tables, despite being finished in SWT red standard class moquette.
Ah, right, thanks for clarifying. I'd assumed the first class seating was removed at some point.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Thought that was only the ones where the whole unit was ex-460 vehicles?



Haven't those already had an interior refurb done? Presumably if they are going to make further alterations to reduce first class it will just be to replace some of it with more of the original type of standard class seat (there will have been loads removed from the Northern units, if they've not all been skipped). First class on the 159s is currently 1+2 Chapman seating - I suppose they could replace that with 2+2, but if so there's little point in having first class at all.

Hopefully at least the 159s will remain as 1 + 2 as the journeys are quite long.
 

swt_passenger

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Hopefully at least the 159s will remain as 1 + 2 as the journeys are quite long.
Probably off topic for this thread, but the numbers in the franchise spec suggest there may be layout changes to 2+2. It’s not the exact change in First capacity that really matters, it’s how can you increase the standard class without reducing the length of the first class area?

I posted the figures in the main SWR refurb thread here:
 

fgwrich

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Thought that was only the ones where the whole unit was ex-460 vehicles?



Haven't those already had an interior refurb done? Presumably if they are going to make further alterations to reduce first class it will just be to replace some of it with more of the original type of standard class seat (there will have been loads removed from the Northern units, if they've not all been skipped). First class on the 159s is currently 1+2 Chapman seating - I suppose they could replace that with 2+2, but if so there's little point in having first class at all.
Only an interior refresh done at their C6 rather than refurb, there's still talk about a replacement of both first and standard seats, then just first, then both again. As set_passenger mentions below, the FC is to be changed to 2+2, although I wonder how popular that will be with some of the Salisbury commuters (if and when they ever return!). Having used the 159s to commute into Waterloo, extra capacity in thee units will be welcome, particularly if they look to someone like ScotRail for a perfect 158 (Inverness sets) interior design.

Probably off topic for this thread, but the numbers in the franchise spec suggest there may be layout changes to 2+2. It’s not the exact change in First capacity that really matters, it’s how can you increase the standard class without reducing the length of the first class area?

I posted the figures in the main SWR refurb thread here:

The last official bit of progress with this was the recruitment of a project and a design manager - I wonder what stage they must be at now?
 

DB

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Only an interior refresh done at their C6 rather than refurb, there's still talk about a replacement of both first and standard seats, then just first, then both again. As set_passenger mentions below, the FC is to be changed to 2+2, although I wonder how popular that will be with some of the Salisbury commuters (if and when they ever return!). Having used the 159s to commute into Waterloo, extra capacity in thee units will be welcome, particularly if they look to someone like ScotRail for a perfect 158 (Inverness sets) interior design.

If they decide to go with Grammer seats (as in the Scortrail 158s) the timing has been bad - thousands of those have (presumably) been skipped from the ex-GWR HST fleet over the past year and a bit. The frames at least would have been usable, possibly also the shells.
 

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If they decide to go with Grammer seats (as in the Scortrail 158s) the timing has been bad - thousands of those have (presumably) been skipped from the ex-GWR HST fleet over the past year and a bit. The frames at least would have been usable, possibly also the shells.

It's astonishing that those ended up skipped (and I believe you're correct that they were, I've read that here before) rather than being kept as spares for those TOCs at least.
 

DB

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It's astonishing that those ended up skipped (and I believe you're correct that they were, I've read that here before) rather than being kept as spares for those TOCs at least.

In the case of Newport I assume they went through the shredder with everything else. Not sure about Eastleigh / Booths, whether they removed them before scrapping. Not seen any advertised on ebay (there have been first class seats from GWR and LNER Mk3s, and standard class IC70s from various).
 

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It's astonishing that those ended up skipped (and I believe you're correct that they were, I've read that here before) rather than being kept as spares for those TOCs at least.
Agreed - It really does go to show how much immeasurable wastage there is on our railways at the moment, both in terms of the Grammer IC3000s and Primarius seats both going in the bin. Eastleigh does save some, however they have been offering the ex FGW Grammer's for sale as well.
 

Energy

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It's astonishing that those ended up skipped (and I believe you're correct that they were, I've read that here before) rather than being kept as spares for those TOCs at least.
To be fair they are about a decade old, although they could be reused.
 

DB

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To be fair they are about a decade old, although they could be reused.

Still a current design though - no sense in skipping them for another operator to then have a load of new identical ones made!
 

fgwrich

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Still a current design though - no sense in skipping them for another operator to then have a load of new identical ones made!
It makes you wonder doesn't it - more so with some of those scrapped Mk3s having new seats that were only less than 3 years old (the 425XX & 406XX vehicles). I took a set of cushions apart to raid the moquette for an up cycling project (turned it into cushion covers ironically) and the bases were virtually new.

Anyway, we're probably drifting the thread here!
 

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SWR first class now looks extremely lousy indeed, and there's no way I'd fork out for it. Standard in 444s is pretty decent anyway.
Totally agree, especially since they got rid of the single seats with table and loads of leg room. Even back in SWT days 1st class wasn't a worthwhile upgrade IMO given there was no food or drink included in the ticket price.
 

HamworthyGoods

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given there was no food or drink included in the ticket price.
This is standard across most of Europe in First Class, it’s the provision of food and drink on the likes of East Coast / West Coast that’s the exception to the rule.
 

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Totally agree, especially since they got rid of the single seats with table and loads of leg room. Even back in SWT days 1st class wasn't a worthwhile upgrade IMO given there was no food or drink included in the ticket price.

That does highlight the 2 views on First Class. I have no interest whatsoever in freebies, but would upgrade for a "1 side" seat and more legroom. As the new 1st has neither I'm not interested, however much free booze they might give out (I know they don't).
 

dorsetdesiro

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It seems obvious that First Class in the future will only be offered on longer distance services run on Crosscountry, West Coast, East Coast, Great Western, MML, Welsh Premier service, ScotRail Inter7city and Caledonian Sleeper.

The standard of FC is being downgraded on some TOCs like SWR, LNR etc, as their express services are not as long as KGX to Edinburgh for example, that passengers would be unwilling to fork out for a FC ticket that offers 2+2 and no catering.

Like some airline passengers are happy to fly without first class to Barcelona and would splash out more if flying further say to Perth Australia for more comfort?
 

Journeyman

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Totally agree, especially since they got rid of the single seats with table and loads of leg room. Even back in SWT days 1st class wasn't a worthwhile upgrade IMO given there was no food or drink included in the ticket price.
I think at one point there were free teas and coffees from the trolley, but that's definitely gone now. As others have said, that wasn't a deal breaker and I was happy to do it for the single seat, but 2+2 seating in First is decidedly unattractive.

When the 444s were new, I did a London to Weymouth trip in first class on a cheap weekend upgrade, and had the space entirely to myself - it was fantastic! No repeating that, sadly.
 

swt_passenger

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It seems obvious that First Class in the future will only be offered on longer distance services run on Crosscountry, West Coast, East Coast, Great Western, MML, Welsh Premier service, ScotRail Inter7city and Caledonian Sleeper.

The standard of FC is being downgraded on some TOCs like SWR, LNR etc, as their express services are not as long as KGX to Edinburgh for example, that passengers would be unwilling to fork out for a FC ticket that offers 2+2 and no catering.

Like some airline passengers are happy to fly without first class to Barcelona and would splash out more if flying further say to Perth Australia for more comfort?
“Not as long as...”. Is that the distance or time though? Waterloo to Weymouth is about the same time sat in the train as Kings Cross to Newcastle - presumably you’d expect catering on the latter?
 

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What i would like is for SWR to use the space saved by reducing 1st class capacity to install some luggage stacks. I have used SWR, well it was back in the SWT days, when travelling with a suitcase that didn't fit in the overhead racks and had nowhere to put it.
 

Bletchleyite

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What i would like is for SWR to use the space saved by reducing 1st class capacity to install some luggage stacks. I have used SWR, well it was back in the SWT days, when travelling with a suitcase that didn't fit in the overhead racks and had nowhere to put it.

The purpose of reducing 1st is to increase Standard, though.

That must have been one massive suitcase. Desiro overheads are huge!
 

3rd rail land

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The purpose of reducing 1st is to increase Standard, though.

That must have been one massive suitcase. Desiro overheads are huge!
I understand what the extra space is to be used for it's just I would have rather the space be used luggage stacks instead. The case in question was circa 80L. Too large for the length of my holiday but the only other case I had was a cabin sized case which was far too small for my needs.
 
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