What's wrong (right?) with Pendolinos?

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by fandroid, 15 Apr 2015.

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  1. fandroid

    fandroid Member

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    Forgive me if this has been discussed many times before, but as a veteran VWC passenger I thought I would put my views down. It's not a comment on VWC's quality of service, but on the train interior.

    There are too many bulkheads obscuring the forward view.
    The window pillars are ridiculously wide.
    The tops of the windows are only about 150mm above the seat backs.
    (All the above conspires to minimise visible Windows, so induce claustrophobia)
    The only electric sockets are two under each table, accessible only from the window seats. (The airline seats, ie the majority, have none)
    The overhead racks are too small for long distance services.
    The overhead rack fairings are too low and I risk bashing my head (I'm 6ft tall).
    The lighting is dim (why did the pointlessly fussy concept of reading lights survive the Beeching cuts?)

    In compensation:
    They are are very fast.
    The 'enhanced' mobile phone reception is good, so I don't have to pay VWC for WiFi!
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  2. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    The bulkhead and overhead rack sizes are my only real issues. I think they're fantastic trains. They hold up incredibly well in a derailment too, see Grayrigg.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Additional bulkheads give a feeling of privacy rather than being in big metal tube.

    I'll give you those.

    However they are a useful shape and as such you can fit things on them you can't fit in other stock.

    They are easier to access and thus used by more people than ones higher up. And I'm 6' 4" and have never banged my head on one, I look before I get up :)

    The lighting is subdued and relaxing compared with the dentist's chair approach of some other modern stock, particularly the awful lighting in fGW's HSTs and 180s. Definitely one of their better points. I also like the similar approach used in Voyagers and Meridians. Spotlights just add a real touch of class, IMO.

    TBH, I quite like them. Bigger windows would be nice, but I otherwise wouldn't change a huge amount.
     
  4. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    To be fair though - 13 years ago we didn't need plug sockets at all seats as we were not as 'connected' as we are now. Not sure how expensive it would be to retro fit them.

    Ive never really had a problem with the windows either and im a tall chap.
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    And we'll need them less and less as battery technology improves. I now carry a backup battery pack that will recharge my phone for a week (38400mAh I think, it cost me about £50). Meanwhile both my laptops (personal and work) have 6+ hours of battery life. And this will only improve as battery technology advances.

    I'd figure sockets everywhere is a stopgap, a bit like wi-fi which will become unnecessary when mobile data becomes good enough. A bit like Rabbit phones (Google it) or even on-train payphones.
     
  6. mrmartin

    mrmartin Member

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    What network are you on to get 'enhanced' coverage?

    I dread going on Virgin trains WC as there is literally no signal for me on 3. Which is LTE on 1800MHz and UMTS on 2100MHz. I haven't seen much better on other networks either when I've been travelling with people apart from EDGE/GRPS which is useless for working on.

    This compares with East Coast where I get full HSPA+ nearly the entire length of the line.

    It's definitely something to do with the construction of the trains, since waiting for the train at the platform will give me 4/5 bars of 4G, as soon as I step in I'm down to 1bar of 3G.
     
  7. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    The signal boosters are just for EE / Vodafone / O2 I believe.
     
  8. fandroid

    fandroid Member

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    Having travelled down from Manchester, I'm now on a class 159 out of Waterloo. The seat back heights are about the same as in a Pendolino, but the contrast is astounding. I can see large amounts of clear glass ahead of me and feel as though I'm travelling through a landscape. I had table seat forward facing) on the Pendolino, and I've got a forward facing aircraft style seat on this train. I can see a huge amount more of the sunny world outside now than I could earlier. While I understand that some folk like the 'compartment' feel of the Pendolino, my personal preference is for all round views. My guess is that there is twice as much useful glazing in a 159 coach than there is in a Pendolino.

    If you wonder if 140 mph capability requires a lot less glass, then ponder mk 4 coaches. They seem to manage to have a light and airy interior, and they have power sockets at every seat pair!
     
  9. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Having lived in Manchester and now London I know plenty of people who have travelled up and down the WCML on Pendolinos for business and leisure. I've never heard anyone who wasn't an enthusiast say anything negative about them.
     
  10. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    The lack of power sockets is my biggest gripe on 390s, the small windows really doesn't affect me much, or do the luggage racks.

    I'm hearing more and more people talking about these power packs for mobile phones, they sound like a smart investment as I do tend to use my phone a lot when on trips. Not entirely sure I'm willing to pay £50 for one mind, but certainly a worthy investment for long days on trains without power points!

    As a general rule of thumb, I like 390s so have almost no reason to complain!
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If you've got a £500 smartphone as many have (OK, you may be paying for it monthly, or by way of PAYG subsidy), £50 seems very good value.

    But you don't have to spend £50 - that was for a very high capacity one. You could get one which has the capacity for one charge for far less. I find I use it a lot - even in the office or in a hotel where the socket may not be conveniently located.
     
  12. martynbristow

    martynbristow Member

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    Well potentially there are problems
    Would you propose a MK3 loco hauled taking 25% longer and having no power sockets, and with a higher rate of failure.

    I think they were very good progress with potentially some oversights.

    I don't have a problem getting socket as i generally book in advance.
     
  13. bavvo

    bavvo Member

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    Isn't the window/pillar ratio a factor in the bodyshell strength? I assume there are modern regulations that for a given potential speed, the rail carriage has to be able to withstand a collision without disintegrating, or the windows becoming detached and allowing passengers to be thrown out. So a high speed train would therefore have smaller windows for safety reasons, that wouldn't necessarily apply to slower suburban stock. Plus alloy sheet is lighter than glass, so has lower running costs (lighter train - less fuel.and track costs).
     
  14. 87031

    87031 Member

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    As an avid 87 fan from back in the 80s i find it hard to accept Pendolinos but i guess they are fast but this is also down to upgraded line which has slashed journey times. 87s could go over 110mph and a lot of the time they did, i had some storming runs off certain ones not gonna disclose the speed!

    87s and 86s had to finish at some point i do think 87s could of been maintained to run for longer instead of Bulgaria having them. They where solid reliable machines in there prime. Only had one experience myself of a failure.

    Pendolinos fail as do all trains including the 92s on the Sleepers! But they do seem more reliable now then when they first started on the WCML. MK3s with an 87 up top sitting in the front coach screaming up Shap and Beatock is the ultimate for me but all good things have to end at some point.

    Not gonna slate Pendolinos they do a job but like so many of todays modern trains they lack and soul or personality of a locomotive. Hard to put into words but i am sure a lot of people here can relate to what i am saying.
     
  15. Cherry_Picker

    Cherry_Picker Established Member

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    Retrofitting power sockets shouldn't be a problem if Virgin really want to do it (or are told to do it). It's happened on plenty of trains in recent years.
     
  16. hibtastic

    hibtastic Member

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    Great trains - my favourite to travel on (uk-wise) in fact.
     
  17. TheNewNo2

    TheNewNo2 Member

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    True, but the Voyagers were built around the same time and have significantly bigger windows. Admittedly the Pendolino is designed for 140mph operation rather than 125, but Eurostars are significantly faster and have larger windows.

    390s are decent enough trains - they do what they do well, but in terms of accommodation they leave a bit to be desired - it's just too dark generally.

    That said, I do like the Pendolino front end, because the livery gives them a somewhat demented grin, as if they're saying "I'm going really really fast!"
     
  18. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

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    Don't the Javelins have bigger windows?
     
  19. CosherB

    CosherB Established Member

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    And that's the point ...... we are all a miniscule proportion of the total number of people travelling on Pendolinos. The silent majority think they're fine/ok/do the job, generally punctual and reliable. And that is all that really matters.
     
  20. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    I would suspect that every train in the country (apart from possibly some of the tube stock) has taller windows!
     
  21. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Performance and appearance - superb.

    Annoying things like stench , poor luggage space , over loud VCB crash and hidous passenger announcement chime (wakes you up and grates on you) , a bizarre layout in 1st with luggage stacks having a window view and seats having a blank pillar - not enough table seats in standard - spoil a decent train. .....

    And dont get me going about the needless and annoying "security announcements" - once a journey is apparently mandated.
     
  22. aylesbury

    aylesbury Member

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    I like to travel on them the ride is good and the journey times are excellent ,okay the windows are small but that's all that's wrong.99per cent of travellers don't bother about this as the train is used to go AtoB not as a way of spotting and I have not seen anyone unhappy.First class is brilliant its quiet and the service is fantastic in standard you can access any service you require and the staff are well trained.I had a long chat with a train manager on my last trip and he said that all the staff enjoy working on them as they are reliable and that's what the railway needs .I agree with the comment about only enthusiasts moaning about them ,perhaps they still hanker for an 87 and mk3,s sorry the world has moved on.
     
  23. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    This again ;)

    From my point of view:

    GOOD

    Fast
    Reliable
    Ability to support the VHF timetable
    Cheaper to maintain and run than older trains (i am sure)
    Larger passenger capacity
    tilt ability
    Plugs at tables

    BAD
    Dark
    Cramped
    Poor internal decoration & lighting makes it dark and dingy
    unconformable - horrible, hard , thin seats, sod all leg room and even i as a 5'11 person crack my head on the rack
    not enough second class seating
    tilt (still seems un natural!)
    toilet smells (greatly reduced but still there at times)
    Too many views of white plastic land
    Luggage space v poor
    Lack of plugs at non table seats
    Those fold up tables
    Pendolino Vision slits aka Windows - far to small (yes in know you cant change that but i dont like them)
    The fact you always have to slouch to look out of the window
    Seats that seemed designed to cut off the circulation to your legs after exactly 90 minutes

    As i always say the trains are modern, reliable, fast, technically advanced and i am sure cheaper for the TOC to run - WHY couldn't they specify a decent interior that is comfortable to travel in? Even things like putting some effort into a better colour on the internal trim or looking at better lighting would help!

    You aren't listening then! Many complain about them when they have a contrast with older stock, especially the light airy feel and the view out of the window.

    Whilst you are welcome to your opinion mine is that the lighting isn't subdued it is dingy!
     
    Last edited: 16 Apr 2015
  24. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    Two from me:

    The tilt - Makes me travel sick...Something I don't suffer from on non-tilting trains or any other mode of transport. Particularly noticeable when in the leading or trailing vehicle.

    Location of the "Shop" - Half way down Standard makes for a long walk when travelling First if there's no trolley. What was wrong with the traditional use of such a facility to separate First and Standard?
     
  25. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    There's loads of things wrong with them, but for me all would be forgiven if they never smelled of toilets, had a bit more legroom and a softer seat.

    They're nice in First Class.
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Have to disagree there as well. There's perhaps a bit too much cream plastic, but that's true of most units these days. I really quite like the dark red end panels and wood-effect tables, they are quite classy, as are the seat colours.

    I suppose it depends on your preference. The thing about dentist's chair lighting like fGW HSTs is you can't escape it. On a Pendo you can choose if you have your individual light on or not. Which I choose depends on if I'm reading or wanting to close my eyes and relax a bit (I can't sleep on trains generally).

    I particularly like the end of coach A where the fluorescents don't quite extend the full length of the coach so it's even more subdued.
     
  27. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    @neilwilliams - i think you can have one or the other - subdued lighting or dark internal colours.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'll admit the Class 222 interior (which has subdued lighting but lighter internal colours) does work a little better. So do the bigger windows. But I still find I like the Pendolino's interior look quite a lot.

    Only key things I'd change are more legroom (perhaps better seats as well - I would be interested to know what First intended to fit) and bigger windows if that were an option.
     
  29. Domh245

    Domh245 Established Member

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    If they weren't tilt specified though, you would only have got marginal increase in journey times because of the superior acceleration of MUs vs LHCS.

    As for the shop, I'd imagine that when being fitted out, they made the assumption that first class passengers would not need to go to the shop for the vast majority of journeys, and would be amply catered for by the first class hosts. Therefore, by placing the shop in the middle of standard, it would be an attractive distance from most standard passengers, therefore making it more likely people will use it, maximising income.
     
  30. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    My memory may be failing me here, but I genuinely don't recall there ever being an at-seat service in First on weekends pre-VHF.
     
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