Thameslink Class 700 - lack of USB/power facilities

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johntea

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The past week I have been ‘down South’ and noticed a glaring omission on Thameslink Class 700 - unless I was being blind the lack of any USB sockets or power sockets on board!

It seemed odd not to have such facilities considering some of the routes are 2+ hours long, and even Northern back here in good old Yorkshire have managed to retrofit USB charging to many of their fleet!
 
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JonathanH

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The past week I have been ‘down South’ and noticed a glaring omission on Thameslink Class 700 - unless I was being blind the lack of any USB sockets or power sockets on board!

It seemed odd not to have such facilities considering some of the routes are 2+ hours long, and even Northern back here in good old Yorkshire have managed to retrofit USB charging to many of their fleet!
They were specified by the DfT and the final specification did not include these features. The DfT have not provided funding for these features to be retrofitted.

Nothing strange about it. The more recently specified class 717 units which have a very similar interior have plug sockets under the seats.

There is a thread about it here https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/plugs-electronic-devices-and-trains.128739/ and also information here on why they won't get retrofitted any time soon https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/thameslink-class-700-progress.92632/page-150#post-2653472
 
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jfowkes

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The routes are 2+ hours long, but I suspect most actual journeys on them are under an hour.
 

Mikey C

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The interiors of the 700s are awful full stop, the lack of WiFi on the 8 car trains another example of their poor spec when compared to the refurbished trains elsewhere on the network and indeed a lot of recent buses
 

Milo T.K

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The interiors of the 700s are awful full stop, the lack of WiFi on the 8 car trains another example of their poor spec when compared to the refurbished trains elsewhere on the network and indeed a lot of recent buses
On 700040(?)-060 those have WiFi and on 700145-155
 

Aictos

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The interiors of the 700s are awful full stop, the lack of WiFi on the 8 car trains another example of their poor spec when compared to the refurbished trains elsewhere on the network and indeed a lot of recent buses
The interiors of the Class 700s are perfectly fine for what they are, mass people movers which can load and unload passengers faster then previous trains used on the routes which is essential in the Core.

Some of the Class 700/0s do have wifi as so some of the Class 700/1s, in my view they do the job they were designed for and any fault with the design is purely down to the DfT not Siemens.
 

AM9

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The routes are 2+ hours long, but I suspect most actual journeys on them are under an hour.
Apparently, the average journey time on the Thameslink routes is well under the hour, - more like 35 minutes. Apart from the core stations and the key outer stations having high footfalls, look at the figures for the metro stops, the routes have a consistently high usage.

The interiors of the 700s are awful full stop, the lack of WiFi on the 8 car trains another example of their poor spec when compared to the refurbished trains elsewhere on the network and indeed a lot of recent buses
That's your opinion of their interior. They have now been in service for over 4 years and are generally pretty reliable now the initial bugs were cleared. The fact is that regular passengers know they can turn up at the station and board any train* irrespective of the time of day, they are fast, relatively smooth even over rough track and rarely taken out of service.
Comparisons with trains provided for services elsewhere in the UK is pointless, the 700s are designed to move the maximum number of passengers over a highly tuned but absolutely limited infrastructure. Furthermore, that demand is not a simple gathering passengers on the way into the city and delivering them at a terminus, (then the reverse in the other peak), it is a distribution service from about 20 miles outside central London, with frequent major interchange stops, e.g. West Hampstead, East Croydon, Wimbledon etc..
* Not counting the current dysfunctional situation during the pandemic. Up to March last year, they were coping well with the ever increasing demand on Thameslink routes.
 
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Bald Rick

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The past week I have been ‘down South’ and noticed a glaring omission on Thameslink Class 700 - unless I was being blind the lack of any USB sockets or power sockets on board!

It seemed odd not to have such facilities considering some of the routes are 2+ hours long, and even Northern back here in good old Yorkshire have managed to retrofit USB charging to many of their fleet!

There was extensive ‘discussion’ about this in threads some years ago. The trains were specified well over a decade ago - before iPads existed - when USB charging was much less of a thing. If you really need to charge - and I really struggle with the concept of needing to charge on anything but a long distance service - there are standard 3 pin sockets in first class. The rear first class section is always declassified.
 

mmh

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There was extensive ‘discussion’ about this in threads some years ago. The trains were specified well over a decade ago - before iPads existed - when USB charging was much less of a thing. If you really need to charge - and I really struggle with the concept of needing to charge on anything but a long distance service - there are standard 3 pin sockets in first class. The rear first class section is always declassified.

Their lack of power points is the result of a deliberately chosen spartan specification, not their age. By contrast, Voyagers were delivered with power points at all seats 15 years earlier.
 

Aictos

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Their lack of power points is the result of a deliberately chosen spartan specification, not their age. By contrast, Voyagers were delivered with power points at all seats 15 years earlier.
To be fair, the Class 220/221 fleets were designed for InterCity services not a mix of Metro and Outer Suburban services, there is a difference.
 

Fincra5

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Their lack of power points is the result of a deliberately chosen spartan specification, not their age. By contrast, Voyagers were delivered with power points at all seats 15 years earlier.
DfT went cheap. Simples ;)
 

Bald Rick

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Their lack of power points is the result of a deliberately chosen spartan specification, not their age. By contrast, Voyagers were delivered with power points at all seats 15 years earlier.

My age point was specifically about USB chargers.

Voyagers have power points - because they are designed for long distance services.
 

D7666

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On 700040(?)-060 those have WiFi and on 700145-155
700125 - 700155
700046 - 700060
are wi-fi fitted from new.

The DfT not retro-funding bit concerns the other units.

There was extensive ‘discussion’ about this in threads some years ago. The trains were specified well over a decade ago - before iPads existed - when USB charging was much less of a thing. If you really need to charge - and I really struggle with the concept of needing to charge on anything but a long distance service - there are standard 3 pin sockets in first class. The rear first class section is always declassified.
Why do you "struggle" with such a concept.

I am a Thameslink 700 commuter, we need this, and so do many others.

Bet you don't commute on them.
 

Bald Rick

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I am a Thameslink 700 commuter, we need this, and so do many others.

Bet you don't commute on them.

You’ve lost your bet. I was on the very first Class 700 in passenger service, and commuted on them ever since. And I’ve never needed to use a charger, and like I said I really don’t understand why anyone would need to make use of such a facility. We have had mobile phones / laptops etc for 25 years and more, and managed perfectly well without on board train charging for most of that. I do understand the need for long distance services.

Can I ask why you need a facility to charge on a commuter service?
 

bramling

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You’ve lost your bet. I was on the very first Class 700 in passenger service, and commuted on them ever since. And I’ve never needed to use a charger, and like I said I really don’t understand why anyone would need to make use of such a facility. We have had mobile phones / laptops etc for 25 years and more, and managed perfectly well without on board train charging for most of that. I do understand the need for long distance services.

Can I ask why you need a facility to charge on a commuter service?

So there's been a fatality on the line ahead, and the train is stuck between stations, and is possibly going to be so for perhaps an hour or two. I'm going to be late for work, and as it happens my phone battery has died.

Can you *really* not see why being able to charge a phone on a commuter train might be beneficial. I'd agree it's not *essential*, but it's useful.

I do appreciate that there is in theory the option to use the sockets in first, however this isn't really a mainstream thing.
 

ValleyLines142

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So there's been a fatality on the line ahead, and the train is stuck between stations, and is possibly going to be so for perhaps an hour or two. I'm going to be late for work, and as it happens my phone battery has died.

Can you *really* not see why being able to charge a phone on a commuter train might be beneficial. I'd agree it's not *essential*, but it's useful.

I do appreciate that there is in theory the option to use the sockets in first, however this isn't really a mainstream thing.
First Class at the rear of 700s is declassified. Plug sockets are available there.
 

D7666

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First Class at the rear of 700s is declassified. Plug sockets are available there.
And how much does 16 such seats contribute to a train that has 624 other 2nd class seats, or whatever the exact number is ?

So there's been a fatality on the line ahead, and the train is stuck between stations, and is possibly going to be so for perhaps an hour or two. I'm going to be late for work, and as it happens my phone battery has died.

Can you *really* not see why being able to charge a phone on a commuter train might be beneficial. I'd agree it's not *essential*, but it's useful.

I do appreciate that there is in theory the option to use the sockets in first, however this isn't really a mainstream thing.
EXACTLY.

Suggesting NOT providing something just because someone themselves does not use it is pure selfishness.

I have no use for a toilet on a 700, I reckon in all but 5 years on using 700s I have maybe used 2 or 3 times. But no way would I suggest 700s don't need toilets.



I agree not essential, but it is valuable.

I do not need to charge my phone, but I sure do need to charge my work laptop for any delay, and actually have to plan to commute and NOT charge the laptop while travelling. I can't guarantee to get on of the 16 declassified seats on an unfitted 700. In fact, in the peaks, pre covid, it was impossible on my commute since neither end stations were terminal points hence always occupied.
 
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Robertj21a

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So there's been a fatality on the line ahead, and the train is stuck between stations, and is possibly going to be so for perhaps an hour or two. I'm going to be late for work, and as it happens my phone battery has died.

Can you *really* not see why being able to charge a phone on a commuter train might be beneficial. I'd agree it's not *essential*, but it's useful.

I do appreciate that there is in theory the option to use the sockets in first, however this isn't really a mainstream thing.
That's a terrible set of circumstances. I use my mobile phone a lot and still don't exhaust the battery by the end of the day. In any event, when travelling anywhere I also carry one of those small battery rechargers. Simples.
 

ValleyLines142

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And how much does 16 such seats contribute to a train that has 624 other 2nd class seats, or whatever the exact number is ?
I agree, I personally would rather see a provision for plugs instead of Wifi but as others have said, many Thameslink journeys are designed to be 30 minutes max journey time and if need be, carry one of those portable charger packs!
 

SteveM70

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What proportion of the ticket price of a brand new 700 do we think providing phone chargers would be? Surely a marginal saving? In the big scheme of things surely it makes sense to provide stuff like this in all new trains, not least because we don’t know where they’ll be used later in their lives. The one thing that’s guaranteed to be true is that retrofitting will cost a lot more than providing from new
 

387star

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Even older southern 377s are being fitted with plug sockets
I'm sure at some point they will be fitted
 

Jan Mayen

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I don't have a battery pack, and my phone doesn't last very long. Probably need to get a battery pack or new battery or new phone.
But I still like the option of charging whilst travelling.
I note that charging facilities are now provided by many of the buses I use, and that Southern are retrofitting them to some of their trains (Class 377?).
I frequently use Thameslink declassified first for this reason.
 

Bald Rick

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So there's been a fatality on the line ahead, and the train is stuck between stations, and is possibly going to be so for perhaps an hour or two. I'm going to be late for work, and as it happens my phone battery has died.

I suggest that the overlap in the venn diagram of

1) ‘number of times that a train is stranded for an hour or so by a fatality (or other reason)’ and
2) ‘my phone battery will die in that hour or so (but not before)’ and
3) ‘I have my charging cable / plug with me, but have neglected to charge the phone elsewhere previously’

... is negligibly small.

Can you *really* not see why being able to charge a phone on a commuter train might be beneficial. I'd agree it's not *essential*, but it's useful.

So no, I can’t see why.

Let’s be honest. For commuters, if you are leaving the house on the way to work without a fully charged phone, it’s your own fault. And if you have a job where you spend the day unable to charge (relatively unlikely, but no doubt it applies to some people, some of the time), then you take your own portable charger. Because otherwise you’d have to be pretty sure that you’d have enough battery for the whole day, but not enough for the commute home.

I do not need to charge my phone, but I sure do need to charge my work laptop for any delay, and actually have to plan to commute and NOT charge the laptop while travelling. I can't guarantee to get on of the 16 declassified seats on an unfitted 700. In fact, in the peaks, pre covid, it was impossible on my commute since neither end stations were terminal points hence always occupied.

What did you do with the 319s / 377s / 387s?

What would you do if you commuted on just about any other line?
 

Islineclear3_1

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Not essential maybe, but it's nice to have a choice.

Yes, we certainly managed before on slam door trains and on early design newer stock but perhaps if the government want everyone to work from home now, perhaps we don't need on-train charging after all? <(
 

NotATrainspott

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The new USB Type C 2.1 spec allows Power Delivery up to 240W (48V * 5A) and this could well remove the need for most wall-wart adapters for consumer electronics. People will get used to being able to rapid charge their phone or laptop using just the cable. That is, if wireless charging hasn't also gone to the step above and most people never plug their phones in at all.

The 700 fleet might be one of the first to undergo a mid-life refit to fit all this shiny new tech, at which point the complaint is that older trains require people to lug around more stuff. All those USB charging points might exist today but they're limited to maybe 10W a piece, which will seem like a waste of time when people are used to rapid charging their phones. IIRC, all of these points have legacy USB-B ports, which are also slowly disappearing from the consumer world.

If technology is continually improving, and installing it in a train causes it to be snapshotted for a decade or so, then there will always be trains which look out of date. It just happens that the 700 fleet specification was frozen before the most recent technological shifts.
 

Steve Harris

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The routes are 2+ hours long, but I suspect most actual journeys on them are under an hour.
Sorry to burst your bubble. But No !

Passengers going to London from Huntingdon have no choice other than to use Thameslink (unless they double back via Peterborough and use LNER) and the current journey time is 63 minutes ! (Yes it's close to 1 hour but it isn't under an hour and I can asure you they're are a lot of people who do travel Huntingdon - London and vice versa).
 

Ianno87

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Sorry to burst your bubble. But No !

Passengers going to London from Huntingdon have no choice other than to use Thameslink (unless they double back via Peterborough and use LNER) and the current journey time is 63 minutes ! (Yes it's close to 1 hour but it isn't under an hour and I can asure you they're are a lot of people who do travel Huntingdon - London and vice versa).

@jfowkes said "most", not "every"

The significant bulk of passengers on 700s will be travelling from Central London to the likes of Stevenage, Luton, St Albans, Croydon, Gatwick, etc.

In Huntingdon's case, most passengers on the same train from St Neots and south thereof will have a sub-1 hour journey time.
 

Islineclear3_1

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USB was originally designed to be a universal connection (replacing serial/parallelFirewire ports etc.) but it has changed over the years and I think there are now 10 different types (including microUSB). Not to mention Apple's Lightning.

When does it all end? How could a train have truly universal charging points if there are so many different types of USB?

How long will it be until we have wireless charging?
 

Steve Harris

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@jfowkes said "most", not "every"

The significant bulk of passengers on 700s will be travelling from Central London to the likes of Stevenage, Luton, St Albans, Croydon, Gatwick, etc.

In Huntingdon's case, most passengers on the same train from St Neots and south thereof will have a sub-1 hour journey time.
No. What he/she said was "I suspect most" (which is a subjective statment and I answered with another subjective statment).

Yes, passengers south of St Neots should have sub 1 hour journey providing they are travelling to London and not commuting to Gatwick Airport, which is entirely possible !

Unless we actually carry out a passenger census you or me won't know which one of our statements is nearest to the truth and if the vast majority of journeys on a 700 is sub 1 hour or not.
 

XAM2175

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When does it all end? How could a train have truly universal charging points if there are so many different types of USB?
Because while the device end keeps changing, the 'wall' end has for the most part stayed the same from the very beginning.
 
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