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The Rational Rants Episode 2: Mallard Haters Unite!

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Techniquest

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I've finally got Episode 2 lined up. How rational it ends up being I do not care, as this is a topic I want posted as soon as possible.

Mallards, GNER's refurbished MK4 stock. Not the steam locos.

Where do I begin with this topic? Ah yes, the seats.

My opinions on 377 seating have been expressed previously, so you will probably already know I find them about as comfortable as ironing boards. Of course, I believe it's the /1s of those that have the nice seats, but that's not the point for now.

I raise the above point because, quite frankly, Mallard seats are as comfortable as the seats in the 377/2s. Correct me if I'm wrong, but GNER are an InterCity operator, Southern are, in all essence, a London commuter TOC. Which one should have the better seats? GNER you say? Logically, yes, that makes sense. But this is not the case! I would prefer sitting on a 377/2 on a long-distance journey (KGX - NCL for example) than a Mallard seat.

Also on the seating topic, why is there so much grey used for the fabric on the seats? There are a few blue ones, yes, but these seem to be few and far between! The blue seats look reasonable, the grey ones look horrible!

Still on the seating topic, why on Earth did they make them so tall? Even I, at around 6", feels small sitting on the seats! The top of the seats reach far higher than any other I've sampled. I preferred the old MK4 seats by far! A point you might have gathered by now!

The lights on the Mallards also seem far too bright, which makes sleeping on a Mallard even harder!

What else? Oh yes, who can forget the legendary toilets? Either there's no water, no pressure or someone's blocked them up. Genius...

Join us next time for Episode 3. Highlights of the forthcoming episode include satirical humour aimed at all manners of poor rail management decisions and Network Rail...

(OK, not as angry as I planned it to be last night, but it'll do!)
 
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HR2

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Oh yes you are too right about the seats on the Mallards. It's like sitting in a wheelbarrow with a bit of foam in it. That is why I always try to go down to London by HST. Seats have a nice bit of bum protection on them. I was fortunate the last time to travel in a HST that still had the original brown BR seats in it. Like riding on a mobile sofa. Lovely!
 

bunnahabhain

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WSXFan said:
Mallards, GNER's refurbished MK4 stock. Not the steam locos.
It's all coming back to me now! The Mallard Class, the Flying Scotsman class, and the The Great Marquess class.

Sorry that's A4, V2 and K4!

You're volunteering on a Heritage Steam Railway now matey, no excuses. :)


Anyway, seating wise, I've always found that First Class Compartments in Mk1 Coaches to be superior to anything, and in the RFO's, you cant beat the Armchair Style seating. :D
 
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Tom

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You said that 377/2 seats are as comfortable as the Mallard seats, and that you dont like the Mallard seats, so surely you'd rather not sit in either for a LKX - NCL?
 

Techniquest

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Nooo, I said I'd rather a 377/2 to a Mallard. Case in point:

"I would prefer sitting on a 377/2 on a long-distance journey (KGX - NCL for example) than a Mallard seat."

Glad to see other people agree with me though! And yes, MK1s rule for comfort!
[EDIT]
Jamie said:
It's all coming back to me now! The Mallard Class, the Flying Scotsman class, and the The Great Marquess class.

Sorry that's A4, V2 and K4!

You're volunteering on a Heritage Steam Railway now matey, no excuses. :)

Never heard of that last one! And we are diesel-runners too! Owners of the best steam loco around too, 7802!
 

ChrisCooper

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HR2 said:
Oh yes you are too right about the seats on the Mallards. It's like sitting in a wheelbarrow with a bit of foam in it. That is why I always try to go down to London by HST. Seats have a nice bit of bum protection on them. I was fortunate the last time to travel in a HST that still had the original brown BR seats in it. Like riding on a mobile sofa. Lovely!

Well, you'll be pleased to know that the GNER HSTs are going to be refurbished to Mallard standards in the near future, and I'm pretty certain that's going to include new Mallard style seats ;) . Then again, FGW are also going to replace the seats in there HSTs, and those don't look brilliant either, although the worst seats on any Mk3s seem to be those on the refurbished 'one' Mk3s. I havn't sat on one yet, but they look awful, and remind me of the seats on the 376s (havn't been on one of those yet either, must do so one day). Good thing is that there are only a couple per carriage, and only in 3 or 4 carriages per train (they are used to increase the seating capacity due to the waste of space DVTs). Back to the Mallard seats, arn't they similar if not the same as those on the Voyagers and Pendolinos. I havn't been standard class on a Mallard (only time I've done one so far was 1st class at a weekend). The first class seats wern't too bad, and the lights didn't seem too bright. What amases me is the general poor quality of seating on trains in this country when you compare them to the likes of the seats on Eurostars and TGVs. They are nice and soft, and have quite low backs, very much like the IC70s (the seat type on the HSTs, Mk3s and Mk2fs), but with the advantage of movable arm rests, which combined with the fold-up tables makes getting in and out of the window seats very easy. The only modern trains I've been on so far with half decent seats are Meridiens, Turbostars and early Electostar 2+2 seats. 180's don't look bad either, but I've not managed one yet.
 

Techniquest

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Mallard seats are worse than Voyager seats, I promise you that.

As for Mallardising HSTs, I've heard of that proposal, my answer was this:

*Pumps shotgun, aims at GNER* :angel13:

FGW's refurbishments look like they'll be OK, no Mallard seating!

EDIT: I do believe GNER should have led the way with the domestic TOC refurbishments. Instead it has taken Eurostar to show them how to do it! They kick ass! I wish I'd done more GNER 373 bashing, but noooooo.
 
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Tom

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The FGW HST refurbs will have Mallard style first class seating.

Leather!
 
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HR2

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So it appears that in future when you travel GNER [or their sucessors given it is to be sold off] you'll arrive at your destination with 'numb Bum' syndrome no matter what train you go by!
 

Lewisham2221

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I daresay that given enough time, the padding in the seats will soften up somewhat. The level of padding isn't the only thing to think about either, the shape of the seat can have a huge impact on comfort, although this can lead to a seats that are comfortable for people of a certain height but not others, and the same for the way people sit.
 

Techniquest

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MK1s are indeed comfortable. In fact, chuck a non-ETH loco on front of a load 10 MK1 rake on London - York/Newcastle/Edinburgh, and I guarentee it would provide a nicer ride for those of us who like to walk off a train without going 'Owwwww, that was uncomfortable', vowing to go home by either Virgin (even if it IS longer and involves a change during most of the day) or find a nicer way back!

HR2, 'numb bum' syndrome, that's something GNER could easily market and sell solutions to on-board in their 'Cafe-Car' ('ooh aren't we clever, we've come up with a name for our buffet vehicles that is totally ambiguous and stupid') for inflated prices. NBS, a normal, everyday problem associated with travel, coming soon to the entire rail network! Solutions to temporarily fix things start from just £9.99, on sale from the shops on the concourse at terminals or from the on-board shops/buffets/restaurants/cafes!
 

devon_metro

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Infact i quite like the 158 seats, my pet hate is the seast in those 150/2s and when fGW stick it on 150 vice 158 to PNZ! Well...
 

Techniquest

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I think it's rather obvious...

To clarify, it's mainly the ECML regulars/residents that like the Mallards. Us lot with decent stock don't. This is generally speaking, some people here prefer Mallards for some odd reason. I hate them with a passion, as do a good few people that don't put up with the ECML often.

Simply put, those on the ECML generally seem to love their rubbishy MK4s. They go hand-in-hand.
 

bunnahabhain

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WSXFan said:
MK1s are indeed comfortable. In fact, chuck a non-ETH loco on front of a load 10 MK1 rake on London - York/Newcastle/Edinburgh, and I guarentee it would provide a nicer ride for those of us who like to walk off a train without going 'Owwwww, that was uncomfortable'
And in the winter time with crummy steam heating leaking out of every orafice in the pipe people can go 'Bugger me, it's freezing, I cant feel nobbys nuts in my packet'.

ETH is your friend.
 

37372

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As a lifetime ECML resident I dont mind the mallard sets when I can actually get a seat on the train although the seats are too high although when I have to stand in a hot, sticky vestibule end I dont think nice thoughts about them...
 

theblackwatch

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Metroland said:
Hmn, well I'm not on the ECML. Having travelled on pretty much all UK stock and a good deal of European too, I think they rate fairly well. The main problem with with Mk4s is their relatively harsh ride and tilt profile. But the pendolinos have far less room inside, and a more choppy ride. The Mk3s have probably the best UK ride and the best coaches in Europe are the French Co-rails. The best Multiple unit ride is the Desiros, in the UK.

Inside I reckon they are the nicest coaches on the UK network, and some of the best in Europe, nicer than the French TGVs, or German ICE 1/2...Only the German IC3 beats it and some of the newer Swiss double deck/tilting stock. The Mk3s all look tired and MUs are generally always a retro-step over hauled. Just my humble opinion.

I think you have summed up the Mk. 4 stock quite well, they do ride harsh, particularly when compared to Mk. 3s (which have never been beaten IMHO). Before refurb, the Mk. 4s had been very tatty for several years - filthy unconfortable seats falling apart, the refurb was well overdue and has been done to a decent standard despite the view of some others on here. And you can put a small rucksack in the luggage rack - something which I can't do on a Voyager despte Virgin's claim that a 'medium sized bag' will fit there!

One other country which has rather nice new stock is Belgium - the loco hauled stock, AM96 'Plug Unit' EMUs and Class 4100 DMUs all look virtually identical inside - an ordinary passenger probably wouldn't notice the difference. And in most case, the seats line up with the windows. Now there's a novel idea!!!
 

Craig

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WSXFan said:
To clarify, it's mainly the ECML regulars/residents that like the Mallards. Us lot with decent stock don't. This is generally speaking, some people here prefer Mallards for some odd reason. I hate them with a passion, as do a good few people that don't put up with the ECML often.

Simply put, those on the ECML generally seem to love their rubbishy MK4s. They go hand-in-hand.

I said that I find the seats comfortable, that doesn't make me a "Mallard lover".

If you ever travel on a Mallard without wearing your rose-tinted heads out goggles, then you might actually realise that the Mallards are half decent trains! I've not heard anything about passengers (not trainspotters) complaining about the Mallards as happened when the Voyagers and Pendolinos were introduced on the west coast. So they must be doing something right :roll:

As for "you lot" with decent stock, well that's all relative really. What you think is good, someone else might think is a load of ****. It will be interesting to see how the GNER and FGW Mk3 refurbs are like though, then you might actually be able to make a fair and unbias opinion.

theblackwatch said:
I think you have summed up the Mk. 4 stock quite well
I'd agree with that too.
 
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HR2

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I'll agree with Craig there. Except for those damn seats. They may be ok for a slim waif like him but theys useless for a fat old fart like me
 

evil_hippo

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I, too, must defend the mallards. the interiors are far more bright and airy than their predecessors and I like the presence of wood-effect tables and panelling. She seats dont place your bum too low like the seats on unrefurbished sets. The spacious buffet area is a vast improvement.

The seats aren't nearly as hard as voyager/pendolino seats and remember that new seats are always hard and take a few months of use to soften up, as I experienced when 156s were refurbished by northern spirit (those were the days...).

Overall, I far prefer the experience of travelling on a mallard set to the unrefurbished mk4s.
 

bunnahabhain

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Mark 1 coach suspension rides better than Mark 3 coach suspension at speed, BR conducted tests in the 80's or 90's, Mark 3's were better below about 45mph, when Mark 1's got the upper hand.
 

ChrisCooper

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The B4/B5 bogies on most Mk1s and Mk2s do ride very well when maintained properly. I'd say they give a smoother ride than the Mk3s, but can be very luchy on rough track. Combine this with soft springy seats and you've got a very comfortable train. The BT10s on the Mk3s do ride well, but when badly maintained they can also be very rough. Some times last year I travelled to London in the DBSO of a 'one' train and noticed the Mk3s infront seemed to be lurching around a hell of a lot more than we were. IMHO one of the best comparisions though is a unit with B4 bogies compared units with P7 motor bogies (455s, 319s and 321s). The latter is much worse than the former, and can be terrible on all but good track. Sadly I've never cabbed an electric loco, but I imagine ride wise there isn't much difference to a P7 bogied motorcoach. The T3s used on the trailers on those units are quite bad aswell, I remember going on a FGE 321 down the GEML where the suspension hit the bump stops on many occasions. Of cource, ride quality, like seats is quite a matter of personal opinion, since some prefer a slightly harder ride, wheras others like it smoother. It's also the case that speed and track quality makes a big difference, and some bogies will be better "tuned" to a particular speed than others. Jamie's comment about the tests is interesing, since whilst I havn't heard that, it does follow personal experiance, especially relating to Mk1s seeming to ride better as the speed increases. One thing that is important to remember is that air suspension doesn't have that much of an effect on the ride, the main thing is that it reduces the noise that gets through to the coach. The load compensation should make them be more consistant though with different loads, although it is something extra to go wrong and that can make the ride very bad.
 

Tom C

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If you ever travel on a Mallard without wearing your rose-tinted heads out goggles, then you might actually realise that the Mallards are half decent trains!

Well said that man!!

Last time I came back from Edinburgh I took a Mallard to Newcastle and a HST back to Kings Cross in First Class and I have to say the Mallard won hands down. The fixtures in the MkIII carriage rattled, the springs had gone in the seats, the lamp didn't work and neither did the phone charger yet the Mallard was very comfortable, very quiet and everything that was there worked.

The seats aren't nearly as hard as voyager/pendolino seats

I've not heard anything about passengers (not trainspotters) complaining about the Mallards as happened when the Voyagers and Pendolinos were introduced on the west coast.

Exactly!!

The interiors on both Voyagers and Pendolinos are appauling and I have to say they are the worst interiors on any long distance trains I have ever travelled on and from my persective ones to avoid where at all possible.

I think it's rather obvious...

Is it?

I am from the South and I like the Mallards
 
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