Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Told you so, bring back luggage van
Hauled myself out of bed slightly later today, so I took the later train. Guess what, it's just as packed as the earlier ones. There is normally enough space for three bikes when I get on in the special bike compartment of this train, and they are all full arghh!
For the train nerds, this is a class 444, i.e. a Siemens Desiro.The advantage of my nine o'clock 444, apart from listening to Today at slightly more leisure, is that the seats are only four-pitch rather than five-pitch, so you get some elbow room. But there's nowhere to put my effing bike!
In some ways these trains have been an absolute joy compared to the crappy slam door stock they replace. But I remember the time there was some quiet controversy about the loss of the guard's van. Back in the day, this was frequently full of bikes and all sorts of luggage, and being a draughty old cabin it was not competed for too much. But, apparently capacity is key, and as many seats as possible were fitted into the new stock. This is all very old history now, as the new trains came in about 8 or 9 Years ago.
Sure enough, on this mid week near Easter, there are already four bikes, two of them folded, in the bike section when I get there. So there is no room to fold mine so I put it on the pile with the others. During the journey I have to get up several times to help other bike users manage the pile.
Basically, we told you so. They should have been enough uncommitted space for bike users and luggage users, who, guess what, also make use of this commuter line with more than a briefcase. Simply ripping out some seats could help, as you can see on the class 450, based on the same train chassis. This has a variety of bike and wheelchair sections, along with bigger doorway aisles. Ideally this would have 4 in a row seats, but then they would have to run 20% more trains to make equivalent capacity so it ain't never going to happen.
So my bike's gonna have to put up with a few more scratches from other folk's pedals.