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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:45 PM   #1
Robi_damian
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MISC | Passenger comfort discussion

Heya,

I wanted to add this thread and open a discussion because I have this odd feeling that new rolling stock is progressively reducing comfort on railways, at least in Europe.

Case in point, a lot of the new trains such as Talents, Flirts, Desiros, Spanish Cercanias rolling stock seem to have lower passenger comfort than many preceeding trains.

One trend is seats becoming harder and harder on many short-distance but even some mid-distance rolling stock. This is not the case in all countries (the UK does not seem to have this issue, for example, neither Italy to such a great extent - but I have traveled less there). Often, this trend includes the replacement of regular seating by folding seats.

Another issue is noise. Compartments are going if not completely gone, and now even gangways between cars are no longer separated. This brings some annoying issues of noise, both made from the gangways themselves but also from the increased capacity of one noisy passenger to bring "joy" to way more fellow travelers.







Does anyone else have this feeling with regards to some modern train developments?
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:47 PM   #2
Svartmetall
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I don't know, I don't find the modern German trains uncomfortable when I have taken them. Even the S-bahn trains in places like Munich and Berlin are quite comfortable in my opinion and feature fabric seats that are properly padded.

SJ in Sweden, also, though I am not a fan of them, I have to acknowledge that they take comfort seriously on their trains and that their newer refurbishments tend to actually be more comfortable, not less. The new MTR Express has high quality seats too on their new Stockholm <--> Gothenburg service. The only problem with SJ trains is the lack of leg room on their non-facing seats - it can be a bit cramped on the newer Regional double deck rolling stock.

Agreed about the UK - the trains there seem to take padding the seats seriously, thankfully - only issue there is leg room.

Chinese CRH trains were comfortable indeed with plenty of leg room too, but I only took them four times so it's hardly comprehensive I'm afraid.

Japanese trains were all comfortable - even the commuter trains featured soft padded seats on their newer and older stock and the Shinkansen was definitely comfortable with lots of leg room. .
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
I don't know, I on't find the modern German trains uncomfortable when I have taken them. SJ in Sweden, also, though I am not a fan of them, I have to acknowledge that they take comfort seriously on their trains and that their newer refurbishments tend to actually be more comfortable, not less. The new MTR Express has high quality seats too on their new Stockholm <--> Gothenburg service.

Agreed about the UK - the trains there seem to take padding the seats seriously, thankfully.
Many of the trains that have this downgraded comfort issues are in fact German (Talent/Flirt/Desiro families being the top candidates IMO, with horrid seats and screechy gangways). Though France is producing its own, like the Z 50000, but these are only on Transilien service I think, as are some Cercanias trains in Spain that have uncovered plastic seating, like with the Civia.

It depends on what you mean by padded btw, as some of the padding is just cloth on hard material, especially in regional Desiro trains.
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:58 PM   #4
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I do agree this is an issue. The new FLIRT trains in Estonia have extremely uncomfortable seats IMO. It's no so much the hardness since I personally don't mind that much but it's the shape of the seats. The back rest is almost completely upright and there's little support which makes long journeys a drag.

I also agree about the noise issue. The lack of partitioning walls means that the overall noise level in the train (created by people) is much bigger than it would be with partitioning walls in between. Quietly reading a book, sleeping or trying to work is nearly impossible.

In the case of Estonia, this was the consequence of trying to optimize costs by buying the same model of train for very different services (essentially from a commuter train to an intercity express). Although this is understandable in a small country like Estonia, it doesn't explain the need for awful seats. Some city buses have better seats, for crying out lout.

I would also argue that the lighting is too bright and harsh for an intercity train service. The interior feels cold and not at all a cosy environment to travel in.


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Old July 26th, 2015, 05:22 PM   #5
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In terms of comfort? Japanese trains > all.
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Old July 26th, 2015, 05:53 PM   #6
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In terms of comfort? Japanese trains > all.
I have heard this from a lot of people. I defo need to try a train trip in Japan one day...
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Old July 26th, 2015, 07:04 PM   #7
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Yes, I would agree that with a few exceptions, several new trains are not improvements but the opposite. I would throw the new Velaro ICEs into the same bag. Compared to ICE 3, which were my favorite German HS trains, the Velaro is definitely a step backward. Bright neon bulbs shining unprotected into passengers' eyes, tighter seating and no optional compartments, no proper dining car, toilets that constantly are blocked....
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Old July 26th, 2015, 09:40 PM   #8
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It sounds like the blame goes to the transportation authorities that own those trains instead of manufacturers if the new trains are less comfortable.
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Old July 26th, 2015, 10:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
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It sounds like the blame goes to the transportation authorities that own those trains instead of manufacturers if the new trains are less comfortable.
It depends. I have yet to see a Talent/Flirt/Desiro EMU that is comfortable. I heard they make some better long distance versions with nicer seats, but have yet to ride on. Some of the noise issues resulting from non car separation and temperature bursts from the huge open doors would still stand probably...

To be honest, I only really notices these nuisances after I spent a few months in the UK and got spoiled by these babies on many regional lines around London.
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Old July 27th, 2015, 02:18 AM   #10
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They replaced the DMU soft padded seating in South Jersey with hard seating...similar to what Rebasepoiss has shown... Its uncomfortable after 30mins late alone an hr. DMUs are used on Interurban lines or tourist lines so the journey is short. The Regional Rail setting has become more comfortable...but the Northeastern systems aren't as comfy as the West Coast systems... Although the Newer trains are a step up from the older ones...

Older refurbished EMUs & single cars that are used on the LIRR/MNRR have this kind of seating..


Empty Seating
by Corey Best, on Flickr

Newer M7/A EMUs used on the LIRR/MNRR


M7 Train
by Matthew G., on Flickr

Newer M8 Trains used in CT , have softer seating with outlets at every seat


Empty M8 Seats
by Corey Best, on Flickr
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Old July 27th, 2015, 07:14 AM   #11
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Chinese rail+JP trains is the best
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Old July 27th, 2015, 11:54 AM   #12
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There are nice seats in passengers train.
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Old July 27th, 2015, 01:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sr.Horn View Post
In terms of comfort? Japanese trains > all.
JR Limited Expresses, their equivalents with private railroads and Shinkansens, probably yes. But other train types probably not, because they often have high capacity interiors with few seats and lots of standing room. What especially surprised me was the high noise level on subways, local and express trains and the number of rattling interiors and doors.

In trains in Europe I detect a similar trend as in planes: In every new model the seat pitch gets reduced further. Especially in a country with an on average tall population, like the Netherlands, the limits have been reached on what can be called comfortable. Yet it wouldn't surprise me if seat pitch on the oncoming FLIRT3s and CIVITYs has been reduced further yet again to make up for the lost seats because of the reintroduction of toilets in regional trains.

The most comfortable trains I have ridden yet are the Shinkansen N700 and the pre-redesign ICE1.
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Old July 27th, 2015, 01:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
JR Limited Expresses, their equivalents with private railroads and Shinkansens, probably yes. But other train types probably not, because they often have high capacity interiors with few seats and lots of standing room. What especially surprised me was the high noise level on subways, local and express trains and the number of rattling interiors and doors.
Doesn´t Japan have a higher share of non-welded tracks than Europe on non-Shinkansen routes?
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Old July 27th, 2015, 01:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadeye Reloaded View Post
Launch of the first Velaro D trainsets on the Frankfurt - Paris route. -The Class 407 Velaro D is the latest variant of DB’s ICE3 family, and the fourth generation of Siemens’ Velaro. It offers 444 seats, 31 more than the Class 406 design it succeeds, and includes a 16-seat dining car.
Translation: by eliminating your leg space, separate compartments for those who prefer to sit with 5 other people rather than 100, luggage space, and the corridors which gave some semi-privacy to people on the phone or who want to stretch their legs, our company can hope for more profits with less services. We have also reduced the dining car even further, from a full car to a tiny little segment. However, how is a dining car with only four tables ever going to earn any money? Only by reducing service and variety, of course.
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Old July 27th, 2015, 02:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
JR Limited Expresses, their equivalents with private railroads and Shinkansens, probably yes. But other train types probably not, because they often have high capacity interiors with few seats and lots of standing room. What especially surprised me was the high noise level on subways, local and express trains and the number of rattling interiors and doors.
I would disagree - the seats, though longitudinal, tend to be padded appropriately and still comfortable and capacious enough for up to an hour or two, but longer than that I would not like it. Generally, though, you'll not be travelling over two hours on such a train - you would take a limited express unless really strapped for cash wouldn't you? I also didn't encounter your problem with rattling, but I have seen you mention this before.
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Old July 27th, 2015, 08:11 PM   #17
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Do modern trains have full dining cars these days?
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Old July 27th, 2015, 08:58 PM   #18
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Do modern trains have full dining cars these days?
Depends on the type of train. Eurocities and dedicated HS services do have a full dining car, yes. ÖBB tried to replace it with a bistro when they first launched the Railjet, but soon realised that the passengers want a dining car instead. Therefore all units had to be redesigned...
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Old July 27th, 2015, 09:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Do modern trains have full dining cars these days?
From my experience, the countries in which I noticed some form of on-board catering include:

Romania - rarely nowadays, trolley service often offered on longer routes

Hungary - phased out on domestic trains, still available on some international ones. The ones that still exist offer good food, including goulash.

Spain - mostly Bistro cars from my experience, but there is on-the-spot seating too. Passengers use them mainly for snacks and drinks, beer and olives being a popular choice.

Italy - I only picked up food from a trolley service, never explored the train, sadly.

Australia - full service restaurants on long-distance trains. No trolley service so most passengers order the food and pick it up when called on the train intercom (New South Wals rail provider, I heard it is better in Queensland)

UK - trolley service on most longer routes I used

Germany - Bistro, restaurant both available

Austria (RJ) - I only used the trolley service

Serbia - last time I used a train, had full restaurant car but limited service

Moldova - the provodnik had tea

France - bistro
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Old July 27th, 2015, 10:59 PM   #20
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Given the distances and/or faster speeds, I don't think dinning cars make much sense these days IMO. BTW, what is the food like?
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