Thoughts on Compartments

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

  1. vlad

    vlad Member

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    I'm not a fan of compartments.

    I like to look out of the window when I travel by train and I find it a lot harder to see out in a compartment than in an open carriage.

    Then you've got other people to deal with. If you're in an open coach and someone else is sitting on the other side of the aisle then it seems less hemmed in than if you're sharing a compartment with that same person, even though you've got exactly the same number of neighbours.

    In an open coach people can see if other people have got off and so seats are free; that's not as easy in a compartment coach - and if it's not a corridor train then there isn't even anywhere to go: it's quite possible for one compartment to be empty and the next to be absolutely heaving.
     
  2. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    Some nice photos of those opened up compartments here!
    http://www.semgonline.com/gallery/class423_int.html
     
  3. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Nothing short of Connex inspired vandalism as far as I'm concerned.

    I used to love settling down in the corner of a VEP/CEP/CIG compartment.
     
  4. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    I don't think "modern" classes are particularly more pronounced in this than older ones? Mark 1s had curved sides that got narrower towards cantrail level, as did eg Bulleid and Gresley designed pre-war carriages. They can sometimes appear a bit more tapered due to the way the coach ends taper.
     
  5. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    I was in Venice a couple of weeks ago and the OBB-operated evening Munich to Venice loco-hauled train included first and second class side-corridor compartment coaches. To compound the strangeness of this from a current British operations point of view, the loco reversed the empty train out of the station for around 500 metres in order to run round the train and then back it back into the terminus again for the return journey!
     
  6. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    I recall the early batch of 4SUBs, which had 11-compartment trailers, where anyone over about 5'9" had their knees touching for the whole journey - at 6'2", I was more or less glued in place! Each compartment had its own external doors, and simply getting out if you were on the 'wrong' side was an exercise which needed planning!
     
  7. Wivenswold

    Wivenswold Established Member

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    Growing up compartment stock was quite normal and I think it would have a place on some longer distance services. Call them booths and give passengers the option to book a full one.

    Generally I think they've had their day I just wish a bit more aesthetic thinking went into new trains. Bright and functional has its place but away from the city and on late trains it would be nice to feel a little cosier.
     
  8. Sad Sprinter

    Sad Sprinter Member

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    I think you’ve made an interesting point and for me it leads to the question of whether fixed set EMUs/push-pull formations are really a good idea. I don’t see why the seating arrangements for the 06:50 Bristol to Paddington should be the same as the 19:08 Paddington to Carmarthen. I.E, having coaches dedicated to commuter traffic with airline seats vs making up trains with 2+2 or theoretical compartments for lighter loaded long distance services. Plus, you could argue that maybe the 11:30 Monday morning Euston to Manchester might justify 8 coaches but the 11:30 Euston to Manchester on a half term Saturday might need 12 or more. Obviously, bringing back pure loco hauled working is impossible what with the general removal of most large carriage sidings.
     
  9. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    Of course, if there had been a Mark 3 SK planned, BR would probably have had to go for a 9-window bodyside rather than the 8-window bodyside that was common with the First Class coaches.

    Avoiding the need to do that may well have been one of the contributing factors to the Standard coaches being open saloons. If it had been done for a hypothetical SK, the open saloons would probably also have had 9 windows and perfect alignment in 72-seat form.
     
  10. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Quite possibly, but then you couldn't easily change the seating layout, which BR did from the mid-80s increasing to 76 in TS and TSO Mk3s and which TOCs have in some cases increased to 80 or 84 seats.

    The issue I see with compartments is they are less flexible for altering seating layouts.
     
  11. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    You could rearrange an open saloon just as easily whether it had 8 or 9 windows, though that wasn't really what I was getting at. The flexibility to rearrarange an open saloon from 72 to 84 seats is the same flexibility that allows it to go down to 48 First Class seats.

    In effect, the Mark 3 saloons are all First Open bodyshells with all sorts of seating arrangements, rather than tha Mark 1/Mark 2 arrangement of lots of different bodyshells optimised for different seating arrangements. Compartments would require that flexibility to be given up.
     
  12. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    I imagine DDA would make a compartment train trickier. Are there any compartments in European trains which are wheelchair friendly, for example?
     
  13. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Exactly what I was getting at, compartments somewhat lock capacity at a certainly level and lose the flexibility to easily reduce/increase seating density as with open saloons.

    I could be wrong, but I think some of the DB InterCity carriages have wheelchair spaces in some Second class compartments.
     
  14. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    The last loco-hauled compartment stock produced was the Mk2d I think - the brakes ended up being used on the Carstairs splitters so when the first class section was formed in the middle of the combined train there was less disturbance from the plebs passing through the corridor.

    Certainly the Mk2f series had no compartment stock, and this was produced in seven-window versions for First and eight-window for Second. So I think BR had taken the decision to abandon compartments before the question of fitting them into a standardised Mk3 bodyshell even arose. Subsequent use on the 442 was a one-off probably because NSE wanted to be more customer-focused and the Weymouth line commuters (or at least a vocal minority of same) said they wanted them.
     
  15. Nick Nation

    Nick Nation Member

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    It was always a nice treat to find a declassified former 1st class compartment on the 2 HAPS (I believe...)
     
  16. MikePJ

    MikePJ Member

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    Like the OP, I used to travel regularly on slam-door Mk1 EMUs - in my case, going to and from school in Portsmouth in the mid-1990s. On the way home from school, myself and classmates would make a beeline for the one standard-class compartment in the unit. It certainly was private, and good fun with a group of mates.

    Unfortunately, one particular journey home after school I ended up in the compartment with just one other boy my age, who I thought was a friend. He beat me up, purely for the bragging rights, though no-one believed him as there were no other witnesses. With the door closed and the train at speed, he could quite easily have done me serious harm and no-one would have noticed. Fortunately, he wasn't very good at it and I came away with nothing more than a few bruises.

    I could never quite work out whether this odd second-class compartment had originally been planned as first class and then made second as a late design change. It wasn't a "declassified" compartment as it had different seating and fittings to the first class compartment next door. This compartment featured on both the CIGs and CEPs, if I recall correctly.
     
  17. Sad Sprinter

    Sad Sprinter Member

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    I seem to recall, as I knew them in the Connex days, that standard class compartments lacked the carpet first class compartments had. I don’t know if the seats were any different, but I particularly remember the cold plastic floor covering which ruined the cozy vibe.
     
  18. MikePJ

    MikePJ Member

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    First had fold-down arm rests and carpet, six seats in a compartment. Standard had neither, and eight seats.
     
  19. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    The CIG's and VEP's may have had the standard compartment included, in case of a need to convert it for extra capacity later on. It's worth noting that in the CIG, this was the one with the door, so likely to be more draughty.

    I'm not sure what the purpose of the one in the CEP was, as this only dated from the late 70's refurbishment (each unit previously having had a whole carriage of standard compartments).
     
  20. grid56126

    grid56126 Member

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    Love them and hate them. My most recent experience was in Morroco where I travelled in first class between Marrakesh and Rabat. I purchased first class tickets on the day and bot outward and return were middle of a back to travel compo. Asisde the naff views this afforded me, there is the social issue of invading a compo which outward was stony silence and return had the benefit of a family complete with baby. I am quite a social person so read the vibes, got my earphones out on the way and listened to some music. The return was a little more pleasant with a few words exchanged. Had I been with my wife I suspect it would have been less awkward. For me in a new country the biggest issue that I had was lack o a decent view! I did walk down the train and would happily have sat in one of the second class opens, but they were all equally wedged.

    I think as a nation the UK would struggle massively to start using compartments again. People rarely sit opposite somebody in open coaches let alone next to each other except when trains are wedged and I have seen some nasty bitching for all sexes if someone dares to move, jostle, sneeze etc. Heritage lines that still use them are a fascinating thing to watch. Every compartment will get a family in or maybe an odd train crank. People will walk the length of the train to find an empty compartment (I get it I do the same !) and one by one they get invaded as the train fills.

    All that said I have had some amazing trips in compartments. UK heritage lines on quieter running days are a prime example. You know the route, you get a window seat all alone or with a mate and with the top light open you can just sit back and enjoy a bit of peace with some thrash from the loco.

    European overnights have often been a battle of wits. Two / three mates at most occupy a compartment and then play "the game" at station stops. Pull the curtains across, off with the lights and pretend to be asleep if the door opens. It worked most of the time but a few well heeled travellers would just wake you up and barge in. Similar fun was had in the UK but with the ability to pull the seats down and make a double bed in many "Bm" style coaches abroad it was more fun over there.
     
  21. Mogz

    Mogz Member

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    I think that DB probably have the balance right on this one- the vast majority of travellers seem to prefer open coaches for a variety of reasons, but there are times when it would be great to be able to book a compartment.

    I remember when the North Wales Coast 37-hauled trains had some compartment seating. It was great for travelling as a family group with children as it meant that any noise was less likely to disturb other passengers.

    Some DB ICE trains, including the latest ones, have pre-bookable family compartments. This serves a dual advantage as the children have a bit more room to play, are safer as they cannot run off, and are less likely to annoy other passengers.

    Speaking as a Dad of two under-fives, who has to travel via Crosscountry on a fairly regular basis, I can tell you that the evil looks and tutting from other passengers when a toddler decides to play loudly on a train, or worse start acting up, is enough to deter train travel with children altogether.
     
  22. Mogz

    Mogz Member

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    [/QUOTE] European overnights have often been a battle of wits. Two / three mates at most occupy a compartment and then play "the game" at station stops. Pull the curtains across, off with the lights and pretend to be asleep if the door opens. It worked most of the time but a few well heeled travellers would just wake you up and barge in. Similar fun was had in the UK but with the ability to pull the seats down and make a double bed in many "Bm" style coaches abroad it was more fun over there.[/QUOTE]

    The 1980 Stephen Poliakoff BBC television play “Caught on a Train”
    has some amusing depictions of such interactions, including a man with a full set of bulky audio visual equipment set up for his journey who claims all the other occupants of his compartment have gone to the dining car! Well worth a watch if you can find it.
     
  23. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    With hauled stock, a common pattern for IC quality trains is a multi-purpose coach with accessible toilet, accessible compartment, reservable family compartment and cycle/luggage space (this is the Czech version, there are variants); there are also accessible sleepers/couchettes. With low platforms, most stations have a mobile wheelchair lift.

    (Edit: managed intentionally to delete further quote and reply re Mk 2/3 layouts, as someone else had said exactly the same!)
     
    Last edited: 21 May 2019
  24. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Didn't the CIG/VEP compartments have inward swinging windows and were opposite a door in the corridor in order that they could take a stretcher in the unlikely necessity that an injured passenger needed to be carried? They certainly had a different window frame that didn't have the double glazing.
     
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Not sure about EMUs, but the Mk1 corridor composites had a stretcher compartment. It may be one reason for the otherwise rather random arrangement of the windows on the corridor side.
     
  26. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I never noticed in that much detail, but that might have been the case.
     
  27. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I think there was one on the 309s, in the DMBSK/MBSKS. Although like the SR EMUs they were MKIs, the BIG/CIGS were less like LHCS than the Clactons.
     
  28. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

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    I think at least one coach on the BREL International rake had compartments.
     
  29. MotorcycleAlan

    MotorcycleAlan Member

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    You could say compartments have returned with the tiny 8 seat first class section in a refurbished 450. In a 4 car, with no through gangway, it would almost be like having your own compartment, but I have yet to see anyone in one on local services.
     
  30. Peter C

    Peter C Member

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    I personally enjoy being able to go on a train on a heritage railway and have my own little compartment. I prefer being able to enjoy the journey without the rest of the train annoying me! :)
    I would personally like to see a rolling stock manufacturer make even a prototype for a modern train with compartments. Seen as the Mk1 compartments had sliding doors to begin with, making a modern version with sliding doors on the outside instead of slam doors shouldn't be terribly difficult!

    -Peter
     

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