What is so bad about voyagers ?

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fhs man 2

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I have never been on one and I have noticed that on this forum most people dislike voyagers, what is so bad about them and what should I expect ?

I will be going from Glasgow to Newcastle on one.
 
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Schnellzug

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I think in real, practical terms, the main complaint that can be levelled against them is that they weren't long enough when they were ordered, though whose fault that may have been depends on who you ask. :| I rather like them actually, they sound good and have awesome performance (come on, 3750 hp for 5 coaches?), and things like comfort of seats and so on are always subjective; personally I think my major criticism of them is that they seat cushions are thin and rather sharp edged, but otherwise than that I don't think they're too unreasonable. Noise and vibration are things that are also oft criticised, but it's no worse than any other DMU, and it largely depends where you sit. They also have one big plus, in that the PA is an actual live person, and you're not treated to a great long recital of automated messages of carying usefulness.
 

Failed Unit

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Some people may view this as positive - but the faraday cage effect the have on mobiles meaning you can't get a signal on them. (although virgin have put equipment on it to stop this). The seating layout is not my favourite.
 

johnnychips

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I think in real, practical terms, the main complaint that can be levelled against them is that they weren't long enough

Agreed. As well, if you're not used to it, the digital seat reservation apparatus can be surprising if you're used to bits of paper sticking up!
 

Hydro

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They are just too short. They are 5 coaches long and run on many services that would have been 8 coaches when loco hauled.


Some are five coaches long. Glasgow to Newcastle would be an XC job, and could well be 4 coaches.
 

Martin_1981

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My biggest gripes with the Voyagers, most of which appear to be shared by many of my fellow forum members is:-

1. They are too short- 4 or 5 coaches is insufficient for many long distance services upon which they operate i.e. Edinburgh-Plymouth, Manchester-Bournemouth.
2. Many seats don't line up with the windows
3. Toilets block easily and smell- the smell often travelling through the carriages
4. Noise and vibration from the diesel lump beneath the carriage floors.
5. I don't find the seats particularly comfortable.
6. The electronic seat reservation system often fails.

BUT....they do have a couple of good points, which in my view are:-

1. They appear to be very reliable and rarely seem to 'conk out'. If one engine fails, the other 3 or 4 are almost guaranteed to get the train to its destination, unlike a HST where if one power car fails, the other one usually follows suit.

2. They accellerate like s**t off a shovel, to the extent that you feel 'pinned' to your seat when pulling off.

3. I suppose I could add a third; they can be joined together to form longer trains


But all in all, give me a HST any day, especially an XC one. I love those trains.

Martin
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Don't believe what you read about them.
If you sit in one of the "Priority Seats" (usually a couple of rows at the end on one side), they are excellent, particuarly the "back row" which has the best window view - also very rarely reserved.
On Euston-Chester-North Wales or BHM-Scotland they are absolutely fine.
They are fast off the mark, keep up 125mph easily, rapid split/join, well suited to the business on offer.
On VT runs where there is a choice (Crewe-Euston, Warrington-Glasgow) I usually go for Pendolinos for the better ride, but that does not mean a Voyager run is at all bad, just a bit more "jiggly".
Like all trains they are worse when full, and it's true the XC Voyagers get very crowded around Leeds and Birmingham, particularly the 4-car ones.
Starting from Glasgow you should have the pick of the seats.
 

CC 72100

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Right, I'm going to take this from a hypothetical viewpoint that they are all 7 coach long, as if the extra coaches are delivered, so I can offer a fair, like-to-like comparison with any other intercity train, without saying straight off they are too crowded due to only being 4/5 coaches long

- They still haven't sorted out the vestibule and toilet smell. And it's not just on busy train, the other morning, on the 6:08 Bristol - Plymouth, from Exeter only a couple of people in my coach, but as soon as I board the smell just hit me.

- There is nowhere near enough luggage space.

- There are numerous rows of seats which don't line up with the windows, and you just get a plastic pillar (If you're lucky, it's a plastic pillar with a wifi sticker on it, which proudly announces how this XC voyager has wifi, yet I have never successfully connected to it on my iPhone

- The Plastic rattles around - wherever it is, it rattles, be it the overhead racks or one of the other numerous plastic items in the interior. Someone needs to go around with a screwdriver and tighten everything back up.

- The seating is not that comfortable at all.

- The interior is far too cramped. However, this was so that it could tilt, which ironically enough is disabled on the XC 221s (doesn't exist on 220s anyway), so you get all of the problems of a cramped interior with none of the gains of it tilting.

- The electronic reservation displays are a disaster of a system. They frequently do not work, and when they do, they are actually quite difficult to read, being quite dim.

- I don't like a rumbling and vibration under my seat when on an intercity train. I am not anti-DMU at all: 159s happen to be one of my favourite classes, but for an intercity, long-distance train it is just wrong in my book.

- Finally, and this is more to do with the operator, some of the XC examples are getting pretty tatty and could do with a deep clean. Just look down some of the sides of the seats and you'll realise that a hoover down there once in a while would be welcome.

Despite this, I will admit that technically they are fantastic, with great accelaration.

Yes, I do dislike voyagers, but I've tried to take it from a viewpoint where we have levelled the playing field as little bit to give it more coaches if you get my drift.
 
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Schnellzug

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You know, I've never found the Smelly Toilet Problem a problem, or it may be that I just don't find it objectionable. At any rate, i don't think i've ever found it worthy of complaint.

besides, I like rumbling and vibration under my seat. it's the sound of power! :p Particularly when it opens up sweeping through a station.
 

D1009

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They also have one big plus, in that the PA is an actual live person, and you're not treated to a great long recital of automated messages of carying usefulness.

They are actually fitted with an automated PA system which repeats the info on the interior displays similar to SWT, however fortunately Virgin decided not to use it when they introduced them and have not trained the staff in how to. Arriva have continued this policy, but sadly there are a very few train managers who have worked out how it works themselves.

I commuted on them making a 1h 15m journey each way to and from Birmingham for 6 years. To be fair I made a conscious effort to avoid the busiest trains. Overall I found the overall travelling experience superior to FGW HSTs which I had been using before for a similar journey length to London. Being over 6 ft tall I always make for the priority seats with the additional legroom. They are located at one end of each coach in standard class. The smelly toilet issue has always been there, but in my opinion you need an acute sense of smell for it to be a problem in the passenger accommodation.
 

SprinterMan

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I have been on Voyagers countless times, and the only criticisms I have of them are the toilets can be a bit smelly sometimes, and there doesn't seem to be a sensor on the vestibule doors so they shut on people sometimes. They are very nice inside, especially Virgin's ones with the shop, and the hate they receive was more down to the haphazard way they were introduced by Virgin (whoever thinks XC is bad now, remember how poor it was when Virgin had it. 8 car trains should not be replaced by 4 car trains Virgin West Coast is very good, but they ruined XC and deserved to lose it. Arriva have been much better). The seats are far better than IC70 seats. They aren't better than HSTs. but they are damn near as good.

Adam :D
 

D1009

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They aren't better than HSTs. but they are damn near as good.

Adam :D

I should perhaps clarify my post regarding Voyagers v HSTs, I was referring to the overall travelling experience on the two routes rather than comparing the trains themselves. I'd certainly rather have an XC HST than a voyager and vary my choice of train whenever I can to make that possible, but of the various HST fleets my personal opinion is that FGW's is the worst.
 

IanXC

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You know, I've never found the Smelly Toilet Problem a problem, or it may be that I just don't find it objectionable. At any rate, i don't think i've ever found it worthy of complaint.

besides, I like rumbling and vibration under my seat. it's the sound of power! :p Particularly when it opens up sweeping through a station.

I commuted on them making a 1h 15m journey each way to and from Birmingham for 6 years. To be fair I made a conscious effort to avoid the busiest trains. Overall I found the overall travelling experience superior to FGW HSTs which I had been using before for a similar journey length to London. Being over 6 ft tall I always make for the priority seats with the additional legroom. They are located at one end of each coach in standard class. The smelly toilet issue has always been there, but in my opinion you need an acute sense of smell for it to be a problem in the passenger accommodation.

I have been on Voyagers countless times, and the only criticisms I have of them are the toilets can be a bit smelly sometimes, and there doesn't seem to be a sensor on the vestibule doors so they shut on people sometimes. They are very nice inside, especially Virgin's ones with the shop, and the hate they receive was more down to the haphazard way they were introduced by Virgin (whoever thinks XC is bad now, remember how poor it was when Virgin had it. 8 car trains should not be replaced by 4 car trains Virgin West Coast is very good, but they ruined XC and deserved to lose it. Arriva have been much better). The seats are far better than IC70 seats. They aren't better than HSTs. but they are damn near as good.

Pretty much sums up my view on them too. Theres an evening path from York to Doncaster where the speed and acceleration give that feeling of being forced back into the seat :D

I also can't say I have come across the supposed toilet smell in the passenger saloon on XC (although I have on Virgin :s).

I can't help but admire them. Given the mileage they do their reliability is truly amazing; I can't say I can think of a full failure - was the Newquay incident the other day the first difficulty for some time?
 

IanXC

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Other than having some beef with the cattle on the line near Oxford a while back, possibly.

I'm not sure that can really be put down to reliability!

Unless there is some magical kind of obstacle repulsion system which was not functioning!
 

Pumbaa

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I'm not sure that can really be put down to reliability!

Unless there is some magical kind of obstacle repulsion system which was not functioning!

Mooove-out-the-way-dar?

There was a complete failure last Thursday as well, had to be dumped out of service at Eastleigh at around 5pm, was then taken back OOS on 2/5 engines to CZ. Made it back fine.
 

142094

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Disregarding the fact that they are usually wedged and therefore require lengthening on most of their route:

1) Seats are too hard
2) Windows don't line up with all seats
3) Stink of crap
4) Lack of luggage space
5) Designed to be like a plane on rails
6) Claustrophobic.

I usually plan any journey by looking out for the XC HST, although when I did this last month and a Voyager turned up I wasn't impressed to say the least.
 

Badger

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Honestly the toilet smell seems to be a problem with trains in general. I've had it on at least voyagers, pendelinos, and turbostars. Not saying it's not bad, but it's not really specific to voyagers.
 

jopsuk

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If they'd all been seven car and tilting (with more of the network tilt-enabled), then, given the frequency increases, there'd be far less complaints... though of course that wouldn't have sorted the seat/window issues, the air intake/holding tank ventilation position, the rattly bits and the heel dragging from XC on getting wifi installed.
 

6Gman

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If using Virgin try to get a seat in the MSRMB as this is mostly 4seats round tables and quite airy.
 

All Line Rover

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My only gripe with the Voyagers is the smelly toilet problem (which really shouldn't exist) and on XC, the lack of storage space (XC did a complete botched job of the shop conversion).

For those who are complaining that Voyagers are claustrophobic, try travelling on an FGW HST! The first time I travelled on one in Standard Class was last week, and the seating on the Voyager from Bristol Temple Meads was heaven in comparison.

Yes, Voyagers have a curvy design. But their structural integrity is fantastic. If one was ever involved in a serious accident I'm sure the number of fatalities would be a fraction of those in a HST.

Yes, a number of seats don't line up with the windows, but many DO! Including many Priority Seats. So if you want a view, you are sure to get one (especially if you book through the XC website). I doubt the majority of the travelling public care about window alignment anyway.

The best experience you can have travelling on a Voyager is on Virgin in Coach D. Every seat has plenty of legroom, every seat has a table, every seat lines up with a window (almost - just two don't). Coupled with the fast acceleration, it makes travelling on the WCML a great experience.

Of course, the opportunity cost of the above is the reduced seating capacity. In my opinion it is worth it for the greatly enhanced standard of accommodation. Unfortunately, I'm sure a number of companies would disagree.

I've never have problems with the electronic seating displays on Virgin, but they do seem to fail frequently on XC. Why I don't know.

Finally, I would point out that just because a train is too short, doesn't mean it's a bad train. Class 175's are too short but are excellent trains. If Voyagers were lengthened to six car, and had all of the Standard Class seating converted to Virgin's Coach D style, I can guarantee that they would be an extremely popular type of train. (For the record, this sadly won't happen for the foreseeable future :().
 

172212

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I don't dislike them, I think they make a great sound, but they're too short for the services they are used on. I got on one going to Bournemouth, between Birmingham Intl and Coventry and I couldn't get a seat. I think they (XC) need more, so they can be coupled for more capacity
 
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