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Old January 10th, 2010, 05:29 AM   #1
Suburbanist
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MISC | Train Seat Plans

In medium and long-distance trains, where people are not supposed to travel standing on aisles, there are three major set arrangements: aligned, facing and compartment seats:

Aligned seats:


(from rail-technology.com)

Facing seats:

(from daniellecherney on photobucket)

Compartments
image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

(from mararie on flickr)

What are your opinion in these different arrangements?

I'd point out this pros/cons:

Aligned seats
- Best overall arrangement for solo/couple travellers
- Allows for relative privacy
- Allows for trays to be installed
- Don't have many luggage space under the seats

Facing seats
- Create embarassment when you have to ride with a strange in front of you for hours
- Maximize luggage space under the seats
- Better for families/groups
- When possible to compare, usually facing seats cars are more dirty and noisy.

Compartments
- Good for privacy if you are travelling with acquaintances and only with tehm
- Intimidating if you have to share the compartment with strangers
- Makes it easier for crimes/abuse to be commited onboard out of sight of conductors/fellow passengers

I myself would vow for majority of seats in any given train be arranged airplane-like, e.g., aligned (you face the back seat of the front row), some seats to be facing and a few compartments that can be booked only wholly (e.g., without putting strangers in the same compartment).
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Old January 10th, 2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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Aligned seats: On 50% of the ride, seats face backwards which some people don't like.

I'd go for compartments. I don't see any problem whith sharing it with strangers and it's by far the arrangement which offers most silence.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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I prefer facing seats. You have more leg room and you can make small talk with other passengers to pass the time. With aligned seats you have less leg room and you have to stare at the seat in front of you witch is boring. Compartments don't really give that much privacy because you have to share it with others and the compartment doors are also usually open. And as Suburbanist sad it: it makes it easier for crimes/abuse to be committed on board out of sight of conductors/fellow passengers.

One thing that I like about Serbian coaches is that they have both the facing and aligned seats so you can make your own pick.

[IMG]http://i47.************/2du0d95.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i45.************/2q9vtj9.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i45.************/24mxq3o.jpg[/IMG]

www.railserbia.net
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Old January 10th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #4
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[IMG]http://i46.************/mrvd54.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i48.************/m7dpc4.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i47.************/34rymc4.jpg[/IMG]

www.railfaneurope.net
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Old January 10th, 2010, 06:00 PM   #5
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I really like the Japanese way of doing it, have all the seats swivel, so that all are facing forward by default, but you can always change your seat so that you are facing the ones behind you.

Also one great pus for their designs are that all the windows are lined up with the seat rows so that everyone get a window, instead of like here in Sweden where you can end up with a big boring panel at a window seat...
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Old January 10th, 2010, 10:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post

What are your opinion in these different arrangements?

I'd point out this pros/cons:

Aligned seats
- Best overall arrangement for solo/couple travellers
- Allows for relative privacy
- Allows for trays to be installed
- Don't have many luggage space under the seats

Facing seats
- Create embarassment when you have to ride with a strange in front of you for hours
- Maximize luggage space under the seats
- Better for families/groups
- When possible to compare, usually facing seats cars are more dirty and noisy.
I've seen seats on Japanese trains that can be either, on the Shinkansen back in 1979, and more recently on the Keihan railway. I believe it is known as "walkover" seating, the passengers pull the seatback over in whatever direction they prefer.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #7
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The problem with the diagrams with all seats facing the same direction,
is that the seat pattern is most of the time not aligned with the windows
pattern. This means that you can end up with a seat just located between
two windows, and no possibility to look outside. That makes for the most
possibliy boring trip ever, much more than when you have to sit with
a stranger in front of you. So I like this diagram only on routes where I
do not have to reserve my seat and where I'm sure I will be able to pick
one with a view to the outside. French TGVs, for example, are horrible
for that respect.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 11:58 PM   #8
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Class 390 inside...

Nice seats and decent amount of leg room, but the windows are a bit too small!

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Old January 11th, 2010, 02:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I'd point out this pros/cons:

Facing seats
- Create embarassment when you have to ride with a strange in front of you for hours
- Maximize luggage space under the seats
- Better for families/groups
- When possible to compare, usually facing seats cars are more dirty and noisy.
I agree with most of your reasoning (except for the last, this has nothing to do with seating arrangement) but I'd put facing seats in a better light.

Facing seats (as opposed to aligned seats)
- Pro: Tons of legroom in a 50% occupied train, usually even if 100% occupied
- Pro: In a 100% occupied train, the situation with your neighbour is less "intimate"
- Pro: No "wall" seats without an outside view
- Pro: One gets a good window view even when on an aisle seat
- Pro: No need for anyone else to get up when you want to leave a window seat
- Con: Often, only 50% of riders get access to a table
- Con: Slightly fewer travellers per car, therefore more expensive

So as a solo traveller or with luggage I clearly prefer facing seats; when travelling with another person and with a reservation I don't mind as much. In Switzerland, experiments with aligned seats were made but generally disliked, all future rolling stock will have facing seats.

Compartments, by the way, are more or less history in my impression.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 02:24 AM   #10
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I hate compartments
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Old January 11th, 2010, 05:48 PM   #11
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The MK3 coaches are very nice...

Here is a photo of a refurbished train in standard class...

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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #12
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The Regio Express between Hamburg and Padborg in Denmark has all 3 versions in each car !!!!!!!, but i have no pictures to show you.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 08:37 PM   #13
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It is this one its called Bim, Bimz and Bimdz, you can see the doors to the compartments in the left side of the picture.

I found the picture on Railfaneurope.net

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Old January 13th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbaricManchurian View Post
I hate compartments
They are good its travelling with a group of friends or family.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
They are good its travelling with a group of friends or family.
And on longer trips, if compartments are not too much full, you can sleep very good on those seats.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 05:56 AM   #16
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For sure, but in every other situation they are wary, especially when a follow passenger insistis in trying to talk to you when you just want to listen your iPod or read a book.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thun View Post
Aligned seats: On 50% of the ride, seats face backwards which some people don't like.
Most seating arrangements in Europe have half the seats facing backwards. That's not a particular feature of aligned seats.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphorn2 View Post
In Switzerland, experiments with aligned seats were made but generally disliked, all future rolling stock will have facing seats.
The main reason for this is that all future Swiss long distance rolling stock will be doubledeck, and thus you need the space between the seatbacks if you want to have somewhere for the people to put their luggage. Also with facing seats station dwell times are lower than with alligned seats. Trains often stop for only a minute in Switzerland.
Facing seats are also a quite comfortable when a train is lightly loaded. This encourages people to travel outside the peak hours, which is exaclty what the Swiss Railways want...
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