GWR New IEP Train

Old Jun 30, 16, 2:54 pm
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GWR New IEP Train

So GWR had a press event for their new IEP train today and as I was in the Paddington area I went along to have a look and a chat with people.

First the good points:
The general impression was that the train was quiet even in diesel mode, although I found it hard to tell as Paddington was noisy as usual. It had run on all the way from Reading using that for power because the electrification isn't anywhere near finished yet.
It looks quite impressive from the outside and very sleek.
Everything worked on-board.

The not so good points.
Seat comfort is virtually non existent in standard and not a whole lot better in 1st. It's a major step down from the existing 1st seats on the HST and the USB outlets have gone but every seat in 1st has a power point.
The Social Media Manager who was very nice and had obviously been very busy on social media today told me that the seats would be replaced by GWR when they took control of the trains.

Then someone else on condition that I didn't identify this person* told me the complete opposite. They said that the Department for Transport (DFT) were in charge and those were the seats we were stuck with. The kitchen is at the end of the 1st end of the train between there and the driver. I said that the perfect position would have been between 1st and standard, maybe incorporating a buffet counter. This would prevent the hot food for standard passengers cooked in the kitchen having to be walked through 1st disturbing us passengers. They said that this control was down to the way franchise was awarded and they had no say in this.

*I have no idea who they were as their lanyard pass was round the wrong way.

Last edited by Jimmie76; Jun 30, 16 at 3:09 pm Reason: Typo
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Old Jul 1, 16, 2:10 am
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Passenger comfort seems to be fairly low on the priority list these days. I'm dreading the new Thameslink trains we're due to have on the Great Northern.
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Old Jul 4, 16, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
Passenger comfort seems to be fairly low on the priority list these days.
Well yes for the government it certainly does seem fairly far down the list. I suspect someone at the Department for Transport who obviously doesn't use trains often was the decision maker on the new seating/carriage interiors. If that person responsible for picking this design would like to explain the thought processes I would delighted to hear from them.
Unhelpfully the plug position located in between the seats means that whatever is being used/charged will have to be unplugged if the window passenger wants to get out. I'm guessing the designer of the seats either:

a) Doesn't use a mobile phone or laptop etc. and didn't consider the power cable would go from the seat to the table.
or
b) Designed it so that these awful looking seats can be replaced at the first opportunity GWR get to do so and then the power + USB points can be put back into the wall just above the table like they currently are.

If the person from DCA Design responsible for designing these seats would like to come on here and explain things I would be grateful. The material/stitching for the seats apparently is not expected to stand up to serious use and a concern. Virgin Trains East Coast have had more say on the material (only and not the seats), they also had the ability to get a buffet/shop into their trains. GWR aren't in control so had no choice in the matter it was down to the DfT. The blinds are similar to the Voyager/Pendolino ones and for me I prefer curtains but I may be unique in this position. I've actually grown to really like the current GWR 1st carriages on the HST trains.

Having assumed that the train even in 1st would be cheaper than the alternatives I looked into to other modes of transport. The cost of a book of tickets (valid for one year) for the Oxford Tube is only £72 for 12 journeys which is just £6 each way . Now for the cost of my onward journey from Oxford I worked out that the meter fare for a taxi would be about £45 each way (given current rates + assuming I can find a cab driver willing to do that) and that would be to/from the door. So the cost is only slightly higher than a 1st off peak and far cheaper than a 1st anytime fare.

Originally Posted by stut View Post
I'm dreading the new Thameslink trains we're due to have on the Great Northern.
Yeah they don't look great.

Last edited by Jimmie76; Jul 4, 16 at 9:07 am
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Old Jul 9, 16, 5:19 pm
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The initial batch were all contracted for through the DfT who specced everything; the contract with GWR simply says we will provide you with X trains to run Y services and Z seats on any given day. The contract gives the operator very little say in internal spec or even external colour of the vehicles.

These are only being used on the Bristol - Paddington and South Wales - Paddington routes where most passenger journeys are ~90 minutes or less. The kitchen is just for 1st passengers with a trolley service for standard.

There is a second batch that were directly contracted for between GWR and Hitachi. GWR can spec them however they want. These are primarily meant to run on the longer distance services down to the West (Exeter/Plymouth and on to Penzance). These will have more conventional catering facilities and will continue to operate a full dining car service as well as uprated diesel engines as there are many miles not covered within the current electrification works.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by bobthemonkey View Post
The initial batch were all contracted for through the DfT who specced everything; the contract with GWR simply says we will provide you with X trains to run Y services and Z seats on any given day. The contract gives the operator very little say in internal spec or even external colour of the vehicles.

These are only being used on the Bristol - Paddington and South Wales - Paddington routes where most passenger journeys are ~90 minutes or less. The kitchen is just for 1st passengers with a trolley service for standard.

There is a second batch that were directly contracted for between GWR and Hitachi. GWR can spec them however they want. These are primarily meant to run on the longer distance services down to the West (Exeter/Plymouth and on to Penzance). These will have more conventional catering facilities and will continue to operate a full dining car service as well as uprated diesel engines as there are many miles not covered within the current electrification works.
Thanks for the info but you need to include the Hereford/Worcester route as the other one that is getting the DFT version (Class 800/801) which sucks as that's my route. I still can't imagine what the DFT were thinking when they signed off on those awful interiors. The route past Oxford won't be electrified and therefore running on diesel for the last 86/87 miles. I'd rather sit on an HST and have a slightly longer (oh wow a whole potential 6 minutes off my) journey than those trains despite the fact that they're so old, because the seating is more up to date on those old trains. Even GWR when talking about the comfort on board only mention the air conditioning and blinds not the seats - are they worried about the trades description act? (page 9 of this PDF https://www.gwr.com/~/media/gwr/pdfs...0616.pdf?la=en)

Last edited by Jimmie76; Oct 25, 16 at 11:25 am
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Old Oct 25, 16, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by bobthemonkey View Post
The initial batch were all contracted for through the DfT who specced everything; the contract with GWR simply says we will provide you with X trains to run Y services and Z seats on any given day. The contract gives the operator very little say in internal spec or even external colour of the vehicles.

These are only being used on the Bristol - Paddington and South Wales - Paddington routes where most passenger journeys are ~90 minutes or less. The kitchen is just for 1st passengers with a trolley service for standard.

There is a second batch that were directly contracted for between GWR and Hitachi. GWR can spec them however they want. These are primarily meant to run on the longer distance services down to the West (Exeter/Plymouth and on to Penzance). These will have more conventional catering facilities and will continue to operate a full dining car service as well as uprated diesel engines as there are many miles not covered within the current electrification works.
There won't be any buffet on any new GWR train

Originally Posted by GWR Staff Communiqué
Buffet provision on IEP/AT300s
All IEP/AT300s will have a full kitchen which will allow provision of a service of hot and cold food and drink. In line with our customer research we will provide a trolley service in standard class and we will continue to provide Pullman services on the IEP/AT300 trains. We have worked with Hitachi to establish the costs and seating changes required to provide a buffet on these trains. The cost of achieving this on the IEP fleet under construction, retrofitting vehicles in trains already manufactured and the AT300 trains is substantial. It would also require the removal of 16 seats from each train, meaning fewer seats for customers during busy times. These works would also delay the trains’ introduction and thus the extra seats and services for our customers would also be delayed. As such, the procurement of the IEP/AT300 buffet cars would not be the correct decision for our customers or funders"
So by waiting until trains were in production they've been able to say it'll be too expensive to move/change them. Which basically says instead of putting the kitchen in the middle of the train and calling it a buffet they're sticking it at the end of 1st. So any hot food for customers in standard will have to be walked through 1st to get there increasing foot traffic. The only thing left for them to do is stick with the awful seating from the Class 800 and they will have done their level best to ruin a very nice train service.

Last edited by Jimmie76; Oct 25, 16 at 11:25 am
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