Thoughts on Compartments

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by Sad Sprinter, 23 Apr 2019.

  1. Sad Sprinter

    Sad Sprinter Member

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    I'm just old enough to remember the delight in being able to travel on standard class 4CIG compartments, and have a vague memory of a Wessex Electric compartment carriage. Obviously compartments are no more, but it seems the class 471 Networker, that was never built, Network South East was planning to implement compartment coaches on new build stock well into the 90s.

    What are the general thoughts on compartments as oppossed to an open saloon. Better with families I suppose, or lightly loaded services that offer more privacy and comfort. Would they have a place on modern day rolling stock?
     
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  3. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    Most of the routes they would have worked on are subject to crush loading in the peak times. Compartments are a bit of a waste of capacity these days. They could possibly have limited use on intercity journeys as a premium feature, either 1st class or supplementary fare, but not on the London & Southeast commuter routes.
     
  4. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Definitely not in the 21st century. Contemporary self-entitlement behaviour would create too many situations where claims on them would cause problems. Then there is the opportunity for vandalism, which might be reduced by fitting cameras in each compartment. That in itself might bring complaints of privacy violations from some yet provide encouragement for bad behaviour for others.
    Compartments are wasteful of space so it is unlikely that they will appear in future designs.
     
  5. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes I was thinking about that. Some Deutsche Bahn ICEs have compartment's in first class (as well as open saloons of 1st class). They also have some bays of four which have privacy screens around them but don't rise to the level of being a compartment (the screens reache slightly above the seat height but not to the ceiling and there's no door). I must admit if I'd been travelling in a group sufficiently large to book out the compartment I'd have probably done so!

    I could certainly suggest that compartments in 1st class probably would find a market as a "premium" feature but otherwise they waste too much space in my view to be viable in any situation other than that.
     
  6. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    As a premium product, say something along the lines of a Business Class, offering greater privacy on longer-distance routes perhaps.

    I'm afraid that in this day and age of requiring as much space as possible for seats they don't really make sense as they tend to eat up capacity a bit compared to open saloon designs, and so certainly wouldn't be much use on suburban lines and the like.
     
  7. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    I'm not sure they are necessarily less efficient space-wise than open saloons (other than how many standees can be crammed in). If the layout itself was the issue, then when Connex opened out some of the compartments on their VEPs and CIGs they'd have also switched to a standard 3+2 or 2+2 saloon. What they did was simply remove the internal partitions and leave the existing seating in place, so it was in effect an open saloon with 0+4 seating.

    As others have mentioned, some DB ICE3 sets have compartments in first class. Compartment stock is also in use elsewhere in Europe such as in Czechia where both standard and first class compartments are available on several routes. Even the heritage stock on SNCF's "Petit train jaune" has compartments, in the cars that have a roof at least!
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Compartments are only good if your travelling group has one to itself. For more than one "unknown" person they are just that bit too intimate.
     
  9. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    When abroad, I do not like using them as a sole traveller, much prefer an open layout.

    In even a small group, they're great!

    But do they have a place in the UK? Probably not now...
     
  10. chubs

    chubs Member

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    A relic that is best left consigned to history.
     
  11. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    There are a small number of compartments in 1st class on the Swiss "ICN" tilting units. Elsewhere in Europe compartment stock tends to be limited to older loco hauled coaches but there is still a bit out there if you know where to look.
     
  12. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

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    And compartments in south east London is/was a whole story in itself....
     
  13. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    Not a fan. Apart from anything else, they restrict your view out of the train as in open carriages you can see forwards and backwards far easier.
     
  14. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I expect the modern tendency for most MU carriages to be somewhat narrower at cantrail level, than the more parallel sided coaching stock of older designs, doesn’t help with providing a usable gangway?
     
  15. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    lovely on the nostalgia. Terrible on the railway of 2019.

    ( i wonder what people of 1950/1960's Britain truly thought about compartments)
     
  16. J-Rod

    J-Rod Member

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    I've always thought them a good idea for long distance trains... but the cost of making specific stock for distance only (withholding sleeper stock) would make them untenable, I'd assume. Also, to reintroduce them now would probably bring its own set of problems as the travelling public just aren't used to them.

    My mum, for one, hated them after being caught alone in one with a flasher on a train from Charing Cross in the mid-60s...
     
  17. Matt_pool

    Matt_pool Member

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    I was in a compartment with 5 strangers on a train from Warsaw to Berlin.

    That was a long 6.5 hours!
     
  18. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    Lets not forget that there used to be two types of compartments:

    1. Compartments with no corridor connection between them - common on some EMU/DMU types. Very unsafe for obvious reasons
    2. Compartments with a corridor connection between them - common on hauled stock and some EMU/DMU types.
     
  19. kje7812

    kje7812 Member

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    Only for a super-first class and even then probably not as at lot of modern passengers want a table for laptops and the like (yes some compartments did have fold-able tables but they were fair small across the top and only reached mid-way).
    Getting people to share them is a pain at the best of times anyway (from my heritage railway experience).
     
  20. didcotdean

    didcotdean Member

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    The story that went around at the time was that the 442 had some compartments because a high percentage of the first class passengers especially down at the Weymouth end were UKAEA or MoD/Royal Navy employees on business and they could hold semi-private discussions in them. Not sure this explanation stands up to examination that well, as even if there were groups of these it wouldn't stop others using a 'spare' seat or two to full up the compartments.
     
  21. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    They would reduce capacity if used with certain coach designs. I've never seen compartments that don't line up perfectly with windows, unlike many open designs.
     
  22. DelW

    DelW Member

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    Re the DB ICEs, I was on a Munich to Berlin ICE last Sunday, and the second class coach I was in, and the next one to it, had about 50% open saloon with 2+2 seating, and 50% 6 seater compartments.
    In the compartments, there was a gap each side between the middle seat and the seat near the corridor, big enough to fit a small suitcase. There was a sliding door to the corridor, but the screen didn't seem to go right to the ceiling.
    This was a set with a wedge shaped nose, not the pointier type, which I assume are newer.
     
  23. urpert

    urpert Member

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    My sons (5 and 7) were very excited to discover the Paris-Boulogne Corail takes still incorporate some standard compartment stock. They were very disappointed to hear that the replacement units won’t have them!
     
  24. Charlie Smythe

    Charlie Smythe On Moderation

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    I disagree, i would say that of all the things the railways has done wrong, doing away with compartments is definitely the worst one.
     
  25. Master29

    Master29 Established Member

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    As a kid I always hated them. Less chance of getting a window seat, especially on West country holiday trains. Much preferred open coaches. It was OK in Switzerland last year but the train was half empty.
     
  26. Matt_pool

    Matt_pool Member

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    i've been on one of those ICE trains with compartments in standard class. The train, from Hamburg to Berlin, was very busy and I didn't have a reservation, so I sat in what I thought was an unreserved seat in the open saloon.

    But at the last minute a woman came along and said I was sat in her reserved seat. So I got up and found a seat in one of the compartments along the carriage. There were only two other blokes in there, but I still would have preferred to sit in the open saloon.
     
  27. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    But not in the case of the examples I gave: open saloons on both VEPs and CIGs aligned with windows (in VEPs they kinda had to!) just as the compartmented sections did. The Connex SouthCentral VEP units which had the partitions removed still had a lower seating capacity than the sections that were always open (4+0 versus 2+3) so the only advantages were a higher standing capacity, and the removal of "hiding places".

    On the CIGs the standard compartments were 4 seats across and the 1st were 3 across. The first class seating was replaced with standard in the vehicles which had the partitions removed, so no gain in seating capacity other than declassification which could have happened anyway.
     
  28. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I was disputing with the slam-door EMU classes, I meant modern new-build trains where they gain capacity by not lining seats up with the windows, a feature in Standard Class since the Mk3s. If you bad compartments a Mk3 would've seated only 64 instead of 72. Now of course they seat anything from 74-84 generally.
     
  29. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Though even if BR had decided to have compartments on the HST, they probably wouldn't have done the whole set like that. More likely would have been one coach at the most, with a couple of standard class compartments with the rest being first.
     
  30. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    They originally planned for one First to be a compartment carriage.
     
  31. Daz28

    Daz28 Member

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    Unsafe, but very efficient. 6 seats across as a sprung bench, 12 per compartment plus you could squeeze a few standing as well if needed. Plenty of luggage space in the racks above. Also very efficient loading and unloading with a slam door per compartment. Watching one of those unload on arrival at Charing Cross was a sight to see.
     

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