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Author Topic: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?  (Read 268 times)

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Offline martyn

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New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« on: August 20, 2019, 08:57:10 PM »
Having had the need to go to Bristol from home twice in the last few weeks, it has been an eye opener on the new 800 series MUs on the GWR main line.

But is it all good? My journey from Manningtree to Liverpool St is a cl91 + mk3 coaching set. Though these are now much altered from new, they are basically quite comfortable, with decent seats, even allowing for the sometimes lively PW imperfections!

But to me, the 800 series are absolutely amazing on electric power, still very good on diesel. However, the seats! To me, they are like unpadded planks, and after about 20', I find them rather hard on the posterior. I also felt that the ride comfort was not as good as the Mk3, as there seemed to be an element of 'hunting' transferred to the passenger accommodation when at high speed, giving a rather hard, and at times, vibrating ride. Overall, very impressive, but could be improved; I also feel the new Thameslink EMUs have very poor seating, which had been complained about in the national Press; and seemingly, the new Abellio Anglia units also have had complaints about seating quality.

What do regular users of these units feel about the passenger experience?

The less said about 321s on the Outer Suburban/countryside runs from Liverpool St the better!

martyn


Offline robert shrives

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2019, 10:27:16 PM »
https://www.rssb.co.uk/Insights-and-News/Latest-Updates/Research-provides-new-approach-to-seat-comfort

Worth a plough through!  The summary in Rail Express highlighted the current abysmal failings of new trains - inspired by DfT brains trust!

Offline geoffc

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 09:38:51 AM »
I travelled to Didcot and back yesterday on a 800, sat in the middle of the coach the ride was acceptable, but the seat was hard and did not line up with the window. Coming back it was a different story, as the train was packed with commuters at 4'o clock I managed to get a seat but it was over the bogie. Again the seat did not line up with the window and the ride was awful, it vibrated and over uneven track had a definate sideways movement, on a long journey I would invisage some people being travel sick. If you have to travel on one try to get a seat in the middle of the coach.

Geoff

Offline port perran

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2019, 09:50:11 AM »
Iíve travelled from Redruth to Paddington and back a couple of times.
Yes, the seats are hard but , for me, thatís not too bad. However, I donít like the fact that several seats donít line up with windows so you canít see out.
I also preferred the buffet on the 125s rather than the trolley service on the IETs.
Smoother , quieter, ride under the wires.
Noisy air conditioning which drowns out the on board announcements.
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


Offline crewearpley40

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2019, 09:51:16 AM »
Not good geoff. Can never work out why train companies fail to talk to passengers and think comfort or the ergonomics with backs, legs, posteriors, disabilities, cramp, etc. Just saw the video and link posted maybe thoughts for implementing

Offline martyn

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2019, 10:46:50 AM »
Thanks for the replies, seems I'm not the only one that noticed the ride characteristics.

On the way back, we seemed to change back to diesel power about Ealing Broadway for the run into Paddington, and the pantographs were definitely down in the terminus-is this usual?

A bonus on the first trip was 'BRAUNTON' on shed at Bristol, about six weeks ago, and UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA on its way to Southall on the second trip.

Having not travelled on the GWR mainline since about 1978, when the HSTs were brand new, the 'new' railway is quite an eye opener. Just a shame and short sightedness that the wiring stops so far short of Temple Meads and Cardiff.

Martyn




Offline GrahamG

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2019, 12:32:45 PM »
I think comments on the comfort, or otherwise, of the seats are valid, and something I noticed first time I sat down on one rather too quickly. I believe the amount of padding on the seat was specified by the DfT, citing trying to deter vandalism and fire risk, but all upholstered furniture has to be made of flame retardant materials for years. I suspect that has much more to do with cost.

Regarding the ride quality, there is not doubt that the ride is harder and nowhere near the superior ride of the Mk3. I also believe the track is not as smooth as it was when the HSTs were introduced.

Criticism of the lack of a buffet is also valid, but I guess for those who prefer to go to the buffet, there will be others that prefer the trolley to come to them. A case of not being able to please all the people, all the time.

Unfortunately train builders gave up trying to line up seats with the windows long ago and something that the Mk3s also succumbed to many years ago. Some people, myself included, quite like sitting an airline style seat so it will always knock the seats/windows out of line. I believe, and I've not particularly looked, the table seats do align with the windows.

Lastly, and I declare my interest here. I drive 800s for GWR on the Paddington to Oxford/Bedwyn routes and can say there is no instruction to switch to diesel on the approach to Paddington. There may have been some issue on that journey that made it necessary. The good thing with the 800 is if there is any problems with the 25kv supply, one button will set off the power change process.

Graham
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 04:14:49 PM by GrahamG »

Offline martyn

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2019, 03:35:08 PM »
Graham G;

Thanks for the information about the running of the diesels on approaching Paddington. I certainly didn't remember it from the first trip I did, and thought it unusual; but the motors 'kicked' as we passed Ealing Broadway, and the pantos were down on arrival.

Presumably the driver can change power whilst underway, and raise and lower the pantos at will?

Thanks again.

martyn

Offline GrahamG

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2019, 04:12:44 PM »
Yes Martyn, the power changeover can be done on the move. Electric to diesel can be done at any speed, although the driver must shut off power and be coasting when the change is initiated. Diesel to electric is more complicated as only certain sections of the overhead wires are strengthened for raising the pantograph at speed. If the location is missed drivers can just continue on diesel until the next stopping point and raise the pantograph there.
Graham

Offline davidinyork

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2019, 05:54:33 PM »
I've not been on the GWR ones yet, but I have been on the LNER ones and I believe the seats are identical (apart from the colour!). Legroom is quite good, but the seats are so hard that travelling any distance wouldn't be pleasant. The power sockets are also in a strange and really awkward position underneath the front of the seat, and they are only 3-pin sockets whereas most new / refurbished trains now seem to have combined 3-pin and USB power sockets.

Overall the trains are a fair bit better than Voyagers (although let's face it, that's a pretty low bar), but nowhere near as good as a decently-refurbished (LNER / XC) Mk3.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 06:04:17 PM by davidinyork »

Offline cornish yorkie

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2019, 06:44:36 PM »
 :hellosign:
   As a regular traveller on the "800s" from Hayle to Reading I find them overall an excellent train, okay the seat are harder but not uncomfortably so, the buffet v the trolley is six of one half a dozen of the other, usually get at least one cup of tea on the journey. The most noticeable advantage over the "HSTs" is the ability to run to time especially on the return journey. Hopefully one day get to ride under the wires all the way.
   Just my personell observations
     regards Derek.   

Offline acko22

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2019, 10:02:36 PM »
Hi all,

So the seats hmmm well I have travelled on the IEPs, class 700s, 195s and 395 units all have hard seats for the commuter services that the 700s and the northern units serve the seats are no great shake for me as well not on there for long so while not the most comfy gets the weight off your feet.
But on the IEPs where I was on there for over two hours it wasn't comfortable at all I actually got up to walk about to give my back a break I found them that unconformable.

As to the general ride modern DMUs do suffer from a rougher ride and vibration due to the way they are constructed, as with many industries modern trains are modular and built to be lightweight, when you add the extra weight when compared to EMUs for the diesel engine, oil sumps and fuel tanks it make them ride a little harder on the tracks and the low level vibration is actually due to how modern diesel engines run compared to the older designs (Modern engines tend to be smaller to be more fuel efficient but run at a higher RPM).

Final bit now, so every seat having a window in an ideal world yeah that would be the case, but with the standards and regulations for crash suitability that have to be meet means that especially for high speed trains that isn't possible when you factor in the seating requirements set out by the DfT.

Offline Buffin

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Re: New 800 series GWR Mulitple units-comfort?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 05:52:53 AM »
Matthew Parris complained about this in The Spectator, but it's behind a paywall

Quote
A small but egregious error has been made, leading to the slight but widespread discomfort of millions: an error it will now prove hard to correct. I see no reason why a request under the Freedom of Information Act could not be made.

Iíll go further. I hereby offer a prize of £200 to any reader with the time and the specialised FoI skills to extract from officialdom the relevant email exchanges, plus the name of the individual (or individuals) actually, rather than nominally, responsible. Write to me c/o The Spectator.

Jo Johnson gets fingered for brushing off complaints last year.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/08/im-giving-200-to-whoever-can-tell-me-who-has-made-the-nations-buttocks-ache/

 

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