Voyagers: Not Fit For Purpose... Or Just on the Wrong Routes?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Up_Tilt_390

Member
Joined
10 Oct 2015
Messages
923
I've seen a lot of people who aren't too keen on the Voyagers. Aside from them being quite a nice looking design on the outside, it seems that these trains just aren't very well received by passengers. Some complaints include...

  • They're very small for the routes they serve which can lead to overcrowding, especially Aberdeen to Penzance.
  • They have a few toilet problems with smell that spreads throughout the train and maybe cause vomiting (they are nicknamed "Vomiters" sometimes)
  • They, being Diesel Electric Multiple Units, are noisy and cause uncomfortable vibrations for passengers when they engines are right under the carriage floors.
  • Maybe the care taken by CrossCountry and Bombardier could be less than it is, though I don't travel on XC Voyagers so I can't judge really.

Considering the stock that they replaced had about eight to ten coaches per train in contrast to the smaller four and five carriage Voyagers, along with being more comfortable in comparison if you go by some passenger surveys, it makes me beg the question on if the Voyagers are really fit for purpose... or if maybe they're just on the wrong routes. Think about it, maybe some of the technical issues may be more bearable if you only had to put up with them on shorter journeys rather than maybe being crazy enough to ride the trip from Aberdeen to Penzance.

What do you think? Are the Voyagers fit for purpose, or are they actually just on the wrong kind of routes? If you think the latter maybe give me some routes they might be best suited for. Take note that I have never ridden on CrossCountry. Thanks.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

ChrisHogan

Member
Joined
15 Jan 2016
Messages
303
I've seen a lot of people who aren't too keen on the Voyagers. Aside from them being quite a nice looking design on the outside, it seems that these trains just aren't very well received by passengers. Some complaints include...

  • They're very small for the routes they serve which can lead to overcrowding, especially Aberdeen to Penzance.
  • They have a few toilet problems with smell that spreads throughout the train and maybe cause vomiting (they are nicknamed "Vomiters" sometimes)
  • They, being Diesel Electric Multiple Units, are noisy and cause uncomfortable vibrations for passengers when they engines are right under the carriage floors.
  • Maybe the care taken by CrossCountry and Bombardier could be less than it is, though I don't travel on XC Voyagers so I can't judge really.

Considering the stock that they replaced had about eight to ten coaches per train in contrast to the smaller four and five carriage Voyagers, along with being more comfortable in comparison if you go by some passenger surveys, it makes me beg the question on if the Voyagers are really fit for purpose... or if maybe they're just on the wrong routes. Think about it, maybe some of the technical issues may be more bearable if you only had to put up with them on shorter journeys rather than maybe being crazy enough to ride the trip from Aberdeen to Penzance.

What do you think? Are the Voyagers fit for purpose, or are they actually just on the wrong kind of routes? If you think the latter maybe give me some routes they might be best suited for. Take note that I have never ridden on CrossCountry. Thanks.


Remember when the Voyagers were introduced that frequencies on the core routes Birmingham to Manchester, Sheffield, Reading and Bristol doubled to 2 tph meaning that 4/5 coach Voyagers replaced 7 coach trains at a doubled frequency. The problem of capacity is caused by the industry's success in attracting more passengers; ideally all Voyagers need at least one more coach.

Worth remember as well that very few passengers travel very long-distances and the "average" passenger journey is probably about 90 minutes.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Indeed, they do have a few technical issues but by and large I don't mind them - provided my train is formed of two of them. I particularly like the big windows, ideal for WCML scenery.

The error was made by VT in thinking that doubling the frequencies wasn't going to attract passengers. They needed to be at least 7 cars long. If that wasn't affordable, longer Turbostars would have been better than shorter Voyagers.
 

Up_Tilt_390

Member
Joined
10 Oct 2015
Messages
923
The error was made by VT in thinking that doubling the frequencies wasn't going to attract passengers. They needed to be at least 7 cars long. If that wasn't affordable, longer Turbostars would have been better than shorter Voyagers.

I do think that Voyagers should be extended to seven coaches long, because it just seems more natural for intercity operations, or maybe do it like the Class 222 where some are five-car, some are seven. This would help in capacity for the route from London to Scotland via Birmingham, a bit like how the extension of 31 Pendolino sets too 11-coaches helped in some sense.
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
25,122
I do think that Voyagers should be extended to seven coaches long, because it just seems more natural for intercity operations, or maybe do it like the Class 222 where some are five-car, some are seven. This would help in capacity for the route from London to Scotland via Birmingham, a bit like how the extension of 31 Pendolino sets too 11-coaches helped in some sense.

If you'd thought of searching for Voyager in this forum you'd see this subject comes up about three or four times a year, if not more often.

I'm struggling to think of anything new that could ever be said...
 

dk1

Established Member
Joined
2 Oct 2009
Messages
9,532
Location
East Anglia
I do think that Voyagers should be extended to seven coaches long, because it just seems more natural for intercity operations, or maybe do it like the Class 222 where some are five-car, some are seven. This would help in capacity for the route from London to Scotland via Birmingham, a bit like how the extension of 31 Pendolino sets too 11-coaches helped in some sense.

In regard to Cross Country a recent study stated that there was a sound business case to provide up to two extra vehicles on the Plymouth-Edinburgh route but the case was not good for others such as Reading-Newcastle & Bristol-Manchester. Where & how this would happen on the Plymouth route was not mentioned.
 

47513 Severn

Member
Joined
25 Oct 2012
Messages
163
Considering the stock that they replaced had about eight to ten coaches per train.

The stock they replaced was usually seven coaches per train either HST or LHCS and ran an hourly service pattern through the Birmingham core. With the introduction of Voyagers the frequency was doubled meaning an increase in capacity. The massive increase in passenger numbers since then is at the root of a lot of the current issues.

47513
 

gimmea50anyday

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2013
Messages
3,094
Location
Back Cab
And VXC staff were saying before the units were introduced that they were too small. Management didnt listen back then, nor did anyone act when they had the chance.....
 

Clansman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2016
Messages
2,274
The Voyagers aren't fit for the routes they are working, full stop. Routes such as Aberdeen/Glasgow/Edinburgh to Bristol/Exeter/Plymouth/Penzance. They aren't Intercity material. I think that they could be doing with being converted to meridians for a start, all 220/1s lengthened to 7 coaches and interior refit to increase the space like the meridians, if they were going to get anywhere near Intercity quality.

But I'd like to see new trains being produced of MK5 carriages if anything :D
 
Last edited:

sprinterguy

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2010
Messages
10,613
Location
Macclesfield
Considering the stock that they replaced had about eight to ten coaches per train in contrast to the smaller four and five carriage Voyagers...
Seven carriages.

West Coast loco-hauled formations were longer but only 4 x 4-car Voyagers were originally built for the West Coast operation (for the North Wales coast), Birmingham - Scotland at that time being part of the Crosscountry network.

Plus quite a few of the Virgin WC 221s now operate in pairs over the core WCML sections of their journeys to provide 10-car trains, barring the likes of one off-peak Euston - Birmingham diagram and the odd unfortunate Euston - Birmingham - Scotland service (there'll be others).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I do think that Voyagers should be extended to seven coaches long, because it just seems more natural for intercity operations, or maybe do it like the Class 222 where some are five-car, some are seven.
I continue to believe that most Crosscountry services could be ably served by a fleet of five and seven carriage trains. The five carriage 221s, bless them, almost look like a proper length train. Although given the latent demand for Crosscountry travel that presumably exists but is currently suppressed by capacity constraints, a fleet of 5s and 7s would probably soon become as crowded as the current mix of 4s and 5s.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What do you think? Are the Voyagers fit for purpose, or are they actually just on the wrong kind of routes?
I've contemplated the "hot spare" 220 standing on the centre road at Birmingham New Street while waiting for a train into Wales, and considered that they might not make bad inter-regional units on services such as Manchester - Holyhead/Cardiff.

However, there are some glaring flaws in the interior design which mean that even in this capacity a 4-car Voyager offers little benefit over a 3-car class 175 but several drawbacks: A 4-car 220, reseated as standard class throughout, would offer 30 additional seats, but at the additional maintenance, track access and fuel cost of a whole extra carriage and an additional engine, and those engines being considerably larger than those found on comparable regional trains such as the 175, 170 or 158.

There's little doubt in my mind that they are pretty rubbish for Intercity services in their current form: Too short, wasteful of internal capacity, and the underfloor engine noise and vibration is needlessly obtrusive compared to even a comparable long distance DMU such as a 180.
 
Last edited:

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,044
Location
Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
much as i dislike Voyagers ( and their crimes are legion) they are not, in themselves , bad trains. They are used on the wrong routes and over distances that make long journeys horrible.

I am sure they are quick, fast, strong, reliable, efficient and cheaper to run than the alternatives. They need a refit with nicer seats and a cascade to shorter routes. Preferably ones I don't have to use. ;)
 

hairyhandedfool

Established Member
Joined
14 Apr 2008
Messages
8,837
....The error was made by VT in thinking that doubling the frequencies wasn't going to attract passengers. They needed to be at least 7 cars long. If that wasn't affordable, longer Turbostars would have been better than shorter Voyagers.

I believe Virgin were very much aware of the problem. IIRC the original idea was to double frequency and then, as demand grew, extend the voyagers, indeed Virgin even planned to retain some, refurbished, "Challenger" HSTs for use on some Cross Country services. I even recall mention of single cab 67s to replace HST powercars, but when Operation Princess went south, through various issues (including Voyager reliability), the SRA got involved, the extra coaches never happened and the plans for "Challenger" HSTs were dropped.
 

DaiGog

Member
Joined
23 Oct 2013
Messages
397
Location
Sometimes Mirfield, sometimes Hull, often Niebüll
I think they would have been better used by the new (current) ScotRail franchise instead of short HSTs. Put the ex-GWR HSTs back on CrossCountry where the capacity is needed, in full 7 or 8 coach formations, and use the Voyager's few good points to maximum benefit in Scotland, i.e. superior acceleration and braking (plenty of power over the hills and quicker getaways from the higher number of station stops) and power doors. And those big windows of course.

IIRC it is intended to fit power doors to the HSTs for ScotRail, but obviously with the Voyagers already having them it's a further benefit.
 

stut

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2008
Messages
1,880
Are they not particularly fuel-thirsty as well?
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
ISTR the Challengers were to be for an additional route, though I forget what it was. The single cab 67s were going to originally be the 220s - they were going to be 4-car LHCS.
 

PHILIPE

Veteran Member
Joined
14 Nov 2011
Messages
12,889
Location
Caerphilly
A couple of other points not listed by the OP:=

Seats not lined up with windows
Unable to run through Dawlish if sea's a little rough.
 

The Ham

Established Member
Joined
6 Jul 2012
Messages
8,019
This sort of thread comes up every so often, basicly the Voyagers are in part a victim of their own success and a product of their time.

At the time there was a lot of thought that there wouldn't be much changing following privatisation, with some even thinking that there could still be a need for some managed decline.

With that as a backdrop Virgin looked to make trains sexy and ensure that their new trains were well liked by the travelling public so as to ensure that they got good returns from their investment. Knowing that people like more frequent services that is what they opted to do to ensure that if there were going to be any loss in terms of traditional passenger numbers that it would be more than made up by new passengers who were willing to try their new trains.

Problem is that managed decline didn't happen ANYWHERE and in the last 20 years passenger numbers have doubled. That has lead to a lot of trains being overcrowded and this is most noticeable on trains which are in shorter lengths.

There are three "problems" which people cite, which tend to be too short, smelly and uncomfortable due to underfloor engines.

The last is difficult to overcome, but I think is sometimes due to the desire to have a loco at the front of their train.

I think that the other two are linked, the trains are too short and as such result in people having to stand, this often means that they are standing near the toilets which means that the smell from the toilets is noticed by more people. However, because the trains are busy there are more people being smelly in general which then means that the trains are likely to be smelly even if the toilet isn't totally at fault. Also because the trains are busy they are used fairly intensively which means that there is less time to empty the toilets and clean the trains which causes them to be smellier than they need to be.

Most other very busy TOC's (take for instance the commuter lines into/out of London) tend to have a reasonable off peak period in which they can do some cleaning before needing all their units for the evening peaks. That or they are running services along a fairly narrow corridor (i.e. East Coast or West Coast, even GWR to a lesser extent) which means that there are only a few depots which means that units are less likely to be sat at remote locations with poorer facilities.

I personally think that other than the fairly geographically isolated issue that occurs with them at Dawlish due to storms that they are not a bad unit, other than they need to be longer.

I think that if XC were to get new longer bimodal units that there would be suitable locations for them to run in longer formations, my thoughts can be seen on this thread.
 

RepTCTC

Member
Joined
15 Sep 2015
Messages
59
With the introduction of Voyagers the frequency was doubled meaning an increase in capacity. The massive increase in passenger numbers since then is at the root of a lot of the current issues.
Must admit, I think it's more a case of idiotic planning. I mean, when ordering the Voyagers, someone has to have agreed to something along the lines of ...

"We're going to double the frequency of the service thereby transforming it's very nature into something much more passenger friendly, we're going to shorten the trains, we're going to buy trains that will be a nightmare to lengthen, we're going to ignore all this platform length we've got to play with, rail travel is already increasing in popularity, the economy is primed to go off like a rocket, and we've got a very anti-car government in office.

Yeah, it'll be fine. We won't need any extra capacity in the next 30 years. I mean, why would we, and there's no better way of solving the problem than buying a small number of short DMUs that are incompatible with pretty much everything else."

Well, duh.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Even if passenger numbers had not increased, the Voyagers were overcrowded from day one. This was amply demonstrated by the 4-car Mk2 set that was running around at the end of the LHCS era.
 

The Ham

Established Member
Joined
6 Jul 2012
Messages
8,019
Must admit, I think it's more a case of idiotic planning. I mean, when ordering the Voyagers, someone has to have agreed to something along the lines of ...

"We're going to double the frequency of the service thereby transforming it's very nature into something much more passenger friendly, we're going to shorten the trains, we're going to buy trains that will be a nightmare to lengthen, we're going to ignore all this platform length we've got to play with, rail travel is already increasing in popularity, the economy is primed to go off like a rocket, and we've got a very anti-car government in office.

Yeah, it'll be fine. We won't need any extra capacity in the next 30 years. I mean, why would we, and there's no better way of solving the problem than buying a small number of short DMUs that are incompatible with pretty much everything else."

Well, duh.

However it wasn't that long ago that people were saying, we don't need much more capacity as rail growth will slow down, why do we need HS2 we can just lengthen trains a bit more to cope. However since 2009 (launch of HS2) rail growth has been going up at about 5% per year when HS2 was assuming a growth rate of 2.5% per year.

Yes passengers will be attracted to more frequent services but I doubt many people would have though quite so many would have been attracted in such a short period of time.

Voyagers could be lengthened fairly easily if there is the willing to scrap/store/use for parts end coaches, however that will only likely happen if a TOC like XC have an option for doing away with the 22x's altogether so that Voyager Leasing are desperate enough to consider leasing the middle coaches and writing off the value of the end coaches.

The only way that Platform length comes into it is if VXC were to stick with keeping the frequencies the same, however it was likely part of their business plan to ensure that passenger numbers grew a little.

Rail travel was starting to pick up (in places) and the government was only just starting to be anti car (although if anything it could be considered marginally pro bus).

The economy was due an up swing, but did anyone really expect rail growth of 100% in 20 years? I very much doubt it, the big "new" green way was to get everyone onto buses, trains were costly to improve and had an image problem (old, late and unreliable) so weren't considered very much of how to be green by the government of the time.

In short it is highly unlikely that at the time of the order for the Voyagers that the "obvious" problems we can see now would have even been seen as significant as they have become. Yes there were those saying that they were too short, but I think even if they had been allowed their way the trains would still be busy now as I think that there is a level of suppressed demand due to the units being too short.
 

tbtc

Veteran Member
Joined
16 Dec 2008
Messages
16,659
Location
Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire
[*]They're very small for the routes they serve which can lead to overcrowding, especially Aberdeen to Penzance

maybe some of the technical issues may be more bearable if you only had to put up with them on shorter journeys rather than maybe being crazy enough to ride the trip from Aberdeen to Penzance

Worth remember as well that very few passengers travel very long-distances and the "average" passenger journey is probably about 90 minutes.

I'm with Chris here - the "Aberdeen to Penzance" argument is seriously over-egged by enthusiasts.

I mean, I don't think that London Underground stock would be ideal if I were travelling from Cockfosters to Heathrow Airport, but I don't think enough people do that full journey either.

XC journeys are more about things like Manchester to Birmingham or Sheffield to Leeds - hence the big scrums you get at those stations.

At the risk of adding something new to a "Voyagers aren't very good" thread, I wonder why so many enthusiasts accept the 1/3 2/3 door positions on TPE (due to the large number of people doing city-to-city journeys) but any discussion of XC stock replacement always requires end doors?

[*]They have a few toilet problems with smell that spreads throughout the train and maybe cause vomiting (they are nicknamed "Vomiters" sometimes)

The fact that a type of traction attracts a childish derisory name from some enthusiasts really doesn't tell you anything about the quality of that train (it tells you a lot about the maturity of aforementioned enthusiasts though...)

[*]They, being Diesel Electric Multiple Units, are noisy and cause uncomfortable vibrations for passengers when they engines are right under the carriage floors

Is it nosier than a 222? Because I don't see the same complaints about their underfloor engines.

Considering the stock that they replaced had about eight to ten coaches per train

Seven carriages

Agreed.

There's a lot of revisionism on these threads - I'd love to know which XC services were ten coaches long day in day out - maybe there was a summer service to Newquay once a year - I remember some five/six coach services through Yorkshire, I remember half a coach given over to a guards' van - but every time the subject comes up those days appear to be halcyon times where the XC services were the longest InterCity services in the UK (bearing in mind the number of seven coach HSTs at the time etc).

If you'd thought of searching for Voyager in this forum you'd see this subject comes up about three or four times a year, if not more often.

I'm struggling to think of anything new that could ever be said...

Given that there's a very busy thread currently debating future uses for 442s (and was one last week about renationalisation), I feel custom bound to bring up the "Master Thread" idea that I always trot out at such occasions.

Some topics get done over and over - we'd save a lot of time if we kept those arguments together to avoid going round and round.

I am sure they are quick, fast, strong, reliable, efficient and cheaper to run than the alternatives

They are, which is part of the problem - there's no real alternative (without slowing existing services down/ electrifying another thousand miles etc).

They are like the Class 66s of the passenger world - reliable - perfectly suited to the job that they were designed for. What other stock is going to get me from Sheffield to Bristol as fast/ reliably?

Mechanically, they seem great. The two problems are that they are not long enough and that they replaced a number of loco-hauled services.

Are they not particularly fuel-thirsty as well?

I think that any self propelled train (i.e. DMU/ DEMU) capable of tilting at 125mph speeds and able to accelerate as well as an EMU would be pretty thirsty.

The question is, do you slow existing services down to go for something more fuel efficient?

Seats not lined up with windows

Which stock has been introduced over the past thirty years where seats fully line up with windows?

How many seats do you propose to take out of crowded Voyagers to enable the remaining seats to line up better with windows?

Most other very busy TOC's (take for instance the commuter lines into/out of London) tend to have a reasonable off peak period in which they can do some cleaning before needing all their units for the evening peaks. That or they are running services along a fairly narrow corridor (i.e. East Coast or West Coast, even GWR to a lesser extent) which means that there are only a few depots which means that units are less likely to be sat at remote locations with poorer facilities

Fair point.

Must admit, I think it's more a case of idiotic planning. I mean, when ordering the Voyagers, someone has to have agreed to something along the lines of ...

"We're going to double the frequency of the service thereby transforming it's very nature into something much more passenger friendly, we're going to shorten the trains, we're going to buy trains that will be a nightmare to lengthen, we're going to ignore all this platform length we've got to play with, rail travel is already increasing in popularity, the economy is primed to go off like a rocket, and we've got a very anti-car government in office.

Yeah, it'll be fine. We won't need any extra capacity in the next 30 years. I mean, why would we, and there's no better way of solving the problem than buying a small number of short DMUs that are incompatible with pretty much everything else."

Well, duh.

Congratulations on predicting that rail travel would double since the Millennium - did you invest wisely with your knowledge of an economy "primed to go off like a rocket"?

We've had some good quarters and some bad quarters (http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2009/nov/25/gdp-uk-1948-growth-economy), but there have been bumps along the way.

Also worth mentioning, in terms of the revisionist anti-Virgin stuff that you get on threads like this, that around the same time First were introducing five coach 180s for their London - Cardiff service, National Express were introducing two coach 170s for their London - Nottingham (Barnsley) service...

...I don't think that anyone was anticipating the huge growth in passenger numbers (other than you, of course).

I have never ridden on CrossCountry
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Which stock has been introduced over the past thirty years where seats fully line up with windows?

Class 158 as-built.

Classes 170 in certain layouts (e.g. ScotRail) and 175 are also very close. Same with Southern Electrostars in the low density layout.

Basically, near enough anything where the bodyshell design was primarily for Standard rather than First Class. The rot set in when BR decided they couldn't be bothered to do a 9-windowed version of the Mk3 for Standard despite the fact that they were building so many so it wouldn't have cost a king's ransom to do so. Then it rotted further when, to cram again just 4 extra seats per coach in (76 vs 72), they completely knackered the layout.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Oh, add Class 350/2 (except the airline seats on the 2 side; for a loss of a grand total of 8 seats per unit they could have made those line up as well).
 
Last edited:

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,044
Location
Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
I'm with Chris here - the "Aberdeen to Penzance" argument is seriously over-egged by enthusiasts.

I mean, I don't think that London Underground stock would be ideal if I were travelling from Cockfosters to Heathrow Airport, but I don't think enough people do that full journey either.

XC journeys are more about things like Manchester to Birmingham or Sheffield to Leeds - hence the big scrums you get at those stations.

But there are lots of people, me included who make ( or made - i wont now) long journeys via XC. I know the experts here like to bang on about shorter distance flows but lots of passengers are on for the long haul. The Voyager is terrible for that kind of journey.

They are, which is part of the problem - there's no real alternative (without slowing existing services down/ electrifying another thousand miles etc).

They are like the Class 66s of the passenger world - reliable - perfectly suited to the job that they were designed for. What other stock is going to get me from Sheffield to Bristol as fast/ reliably?

Mechanically, they seem great. The two problems are that they are not long enough and that they replaced a number of loco-hauled services.

I am not against new trains or committed to old ideas but the simple fact is the Voyager is unpleasant for anything more than a short (ish) journey. Why can we not have 21st century technology AND a level of comfort offered by the older trains?

They are not suitable, in their current guise, for long distance travel. Anyone who says they are should join me, stood wedged in a vestibule, next to a toilet breathing in anothers poo fumes for 2.5/3 hours. Come and tell me they are suitable then.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
I am not against new trains or committed to old ideas but the simple fact is the Voyager is unpleasant for anything more than a short (ish) journey. Why can we not have 21st century technology AND a level of comfort offered by the older trains?

What's your view on (a) the hybrid coach (now converted to Standard style moquette but left with the same almost-all-tables layout) and (b) the Class 222? I think the latter are quite popular with EMT passengers, and they are just the same thing (mostly longer though) with a slightly different, more comfortable interior.
 

Tetchytyke

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Sep 2013
Messages
11,616
Location
Isle of Man
[*]They have a few toilet problems with smell that spreads throughout the train and maybe cause vomiting (they are nicknamed "Vomiters" sometimes)

The vomiting referred to people getting travel sick with the tilting, but is mostly just a jokey nickname. I've seen people refer to Pendolinos as Bendydildos, it doesn't mean people think they're like a marital aid.

tbtc said:
the "Aberdeen to Penzance" argument is seriously over-egged by enthusiasts.

Agreed. The traffic flows for that are very much Aberdeen-Dundee-Edinburgh, Edinburgh-Newcastle-Leeds-Derby-Birmingham, Birmingham-Bristol-Exeter and Exeter-Plymouth-Cornwall. Some people travel through, e.g. Newcastle-Bristol, but they're definitely in the significant minority.

How many seats do you propose to take out of crowded Voyagers to enable the remaining seats to line up better with windows?

The issue with the Voyagers isn't the bulkheads, its the way the seats are against the bulkheads and the luggage racks are against the windows. This has improved with Arriva squeezing more seats in at the expense of luggage racks, but certainly as new the trains' interior layout was gormless. The big luggage rack in the centre of the carriage, against a window, with seats all around against bulkheads was utterly daft.

The issue is the passenger growth on XC when modern, reliable trains started operating instead of whatever 47 Virgin managed to get fired up that morning. There was plenty of overcrowding on the peak trains into Birmingham and Leeds, right from the start, as a 7-carriage HST/MkII had been replaced with four or five carriages, but generally it worked ok. Virgin knew it was going to be an issue- the Challenger trains were not designed for the Cheltenham-Swindon route, they were designed for the busiest trains to the north east- but the SRA overruled them.

The real issue, as always, is that not enough units were ordered to run the service required. Virgin always intended to double up the busiest trains- they set marker boards throughout the country for 8/10 coach Voyagers- using the Challengers for capacity but the SRA didn't let them have sufficient stock to enable them to do so. It's the same story with most overcrowding now- the same thing happened with TPE.

And the overcrowding is why the XC Voyagers are so cramped, Arriva had to squeeze more seats in. A tight seat is better than standing. The only really dumb thing Arriva did was rip out the buffet counter, replacing it with a luggage rack that's nothing more than a self-service smorgasbord for thieves.
 
Last edited:

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,044
Location
Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
What's your view on (a) the hybrid coach (now converted to Standard style moquette but left with the same almost-all-tables layout) and (b) the Class 222? I think the latter are quite popular with EMT passengers, and they are just the same thing (mostly longer though) with a slightly different, more comfortable interior.

to prove a point about new (ish) trains - I quite like the 222. It much more comfortable and much quieter than their XC/Virgin cousins and Bombardier clearly sacked the perverted genius who designed ever component on the voyager with an individual and different resonating point!

AND the toilets don't smell! AND they have free wifi in the hybrid coach
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,449
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
They do have different (also larger) luggage racks. The majority of the vibration on a Voyager comes from the luggage rack.

And the indirect lighting is very pleasant.

Yet they are, to all intents and purposes, the same thing with a different interior. So do the Voyagers just need a fGW HST-esque "rip it all out and start again" interior rebuild?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top