New Rolling Stock - FoFNL's View
As Scotland's Railway gears up for decarbonisation by 2035 procurement of new trains on the rural/scenic routes is imminent. FoFNL is determined that this opportunity is used to furnish the lines with comfortable, attractive trains, which will encourage travellers to use rail instead of driving. We have set out what we regard as the essential requirements for new rolling stock in a document containing a page of bullet points, followed by references to the industry's own guidelines, as described in Rail Delivery Group's Key Train Requirements v6.
This is the first page of the full FoFNL document:
New Trains for Rural/Scenic Routes
Many features of current rolling stock are standard and do not need to be listed here. This is a list of features we regard as essential to attract passengers to use Scotland's long rural/tourist routes. The journeys taken on these trains often take as long as those on intercity routes, so comfort needs to be equivalent. Uncomfortable, noisy trains may prevent modal shift and the railway also needs to be aware of the standards offered on competing bus services.
For an excellent example of what can be done, see the Stadler Class 755 currently in use on Great Anglia rural lines.
- Comfortable seats lined up with windows. No seats without a window. Invite passenger testing of proposed seats by actual users of the lines.
- Windows as large and tall as possible. Being able to view the spectacular scenery from all seats is essential on these routes which attract tourist traffic.
- An even mix of 'airline seats' and tables.
- More leg-room than is found on suburban trains.
- Ride quality as good as Mk 3 carriages. Comfort is essential to persuade travellers to use the train instead of their cars.
- Quiet air conditioning.
- Ingress of cold air during station stops in cold weather should be mitigated by warm air control.
- Good sound insulation, especially beneath the floor.
- We endorse the recommendations in section 3.21 of KTR v6, "Lighting levels are to be sufficient to facilitate typical passenger activities such as reading, whilst not being so bright as to become intrusive", and "Passengers welcome the ability to influence the lighting levels of their immediate environment."
- Catering: Trolley service is sometimes found wanting where hot water and supplies run out in long journeys and/or during long delays - base facilities on trains which are only to be used on these lines would provide a more reliable service.
- At least two toilets per train.
- Wheelchair and cycle provision tailored to the expected needs of passengers on these routes.
- Platform heights vary widely so an access solution for wheelchair users which doesn't involve assistance is needed.
The photos show a bi-mode four-car Greater Anglia Stadler FLIRT Class 755 unit at Thetford, and the interior of one of the units, featuring the large, tall windows. Photos: Superalbs [CC BY-SA 4.0]