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melmerby

New West Midlands Franchise - Standing Room Only?

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Abellio took over a franchise that was working well and with a lot more positive aspects than negatives, all they have to do is polish what LM left them. If my only real whinge is the ride quality of the 350s then LM were doing OK as far as I am concerned.

I don't understand any of these negative comments about ride quality of 350s. I travel to London 2-3 times a week have never found their ride quality noticeably different to a Pendo or Voyager.

They are way better than the 321s they replaced although a like-for-like comparison is probably unfair because new will always be better than well-worn.

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i've always preferred the Pendolinos for ride and comfort, the difference is seat quality is noticible with bad back i find. Strangely the Pendolinos are a bit harder accessibility wise though (the ramps are always too steep for the scooter, the Voyagers being even worse, but otherwise great). The 350s are fine for short journeys to Brum from Coventry, but often have been too crowded (only single unit), especially at weekends under LM. Hopefully WMT/LNW will be able to increase the capicity there, especially for the NEC at weekends with big events on.

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I don't understand any of these negative comments about ride quality of 350s. I travel to London 2-3 times a week have never found their ride quality noticeably different to a Pendo or Voyager.

They are way better than the 321s they replaced although a like-for-like comparison is probably unfair because new will always be better than well-worn.

I find the Pendolinos and Voyagers to be hugely superior in ride quality. Their damping is much more sorted and controls transverse motion more effectively. The problem I find with the 350 units isn't vertical ride which is pretty pliant and comfortable, it is the transverse characteristics which can be quite violent. Not helped by the seats offering very little side support in the 350/2 units especially. Although the awful 3+2 seats are hardly unique to the 350s. I'd rather take my chance standing in a 350/1 or 350/3 as what happens in the 350/2's is that people are crushed in with the person in the aisle seat over spilling into the aisle making it painful to move down the train and taking up the standing space.

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I find the Pendolinos and Voyagers to be hugely superior in ride quality. Their damping is much more sorted and controls transverse motion more effectively. The problem I find with the 350 units isn't vertical ride which is pretty pliant and comfortable, it is the transverse characteristics which can be quite violent. Not helped by the seats offering very little side support in the 350/2 units especially. Although the awful 3+2 seats are hardly unique to the 350s. I'd rather take my chance standing in a 350/1 or 350/3 as what happens in the 350/2's is that people are crushed in with the person in the aisle seat over spilling into the aisle making it painful to move down the train and taking up the standing space.

 

Yikes!!  The WCML ride on a Voyager strikes me as being on a par with the Wall of Death in places when they're going flat out.  Colwich on the Up was somewhere where I was ganging on to the table on a trip back from Cumbria a couple of years ago - distinctly unnerving and not at all like bashing along the GWML in one.

Edited by The Stationmaster
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Yikes!!  The WCML ride on a Voyager strikes me as being on a par with the Wall of Death in places when they're going flat out.  Colwich on the Up was somewhere where I was ganging on to the table on a trip back from Cumbria a couple of years ago - distinctly unnerving and not at all like bashing along the GWML in one.

 

I rode on a class 221 from Birmingham New Street to Aberdeen and return in the last few weeks that Virgin operated services through to Aberdeen and found the ride quality good. The only time the underfloor engines made a noticeable impact on the ears was during a spirited climb up Beattock. I think the ride quality in many cases is as much to do with  the permanent way as it is with the rolling stock.

 

Davey

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I don't know whether it is the new broom but since the change over guards seem to be doing a lot more ticket checks. Previously the chances were that tickets weren't checked, now I am finding there is a check on every trip. However that may be some sort of chance at play. Either way it's no bad thing.

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Threat of DOO and losing their jobs more like...

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There was an odd incident on the train home last night. I took the 17.05 home which is a class 319 operated service. At Cheddington the train got stuck for a while with a door fault and just as they fixed it some spanner hit the emergency button because they decided to get off meaning the guard had to walk down the train. When he got to the carriage (I actually watched the guy hit the button) the guard had no idea how to reset or cancel the alarm. I was surprised as I'd have thought that was part of the equipment familiarisation training. He had to get the driver to assist, not his fault somebody hit it though.

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He should have known how, I wouldn't be allowed out unless I knew the basics such as that!

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If the guard is working that particular type of stock in this case a 319 (I never had the chance as a guard) I'm sure it's the same as a 321/350 unit the emergency plunger are reset with a T-key/carriage key. They are competent in simple issues such as this unless they develop a fault don't forget these units are getting on a bit now and we are getting more of them to cover for the 350/2 being repaired and taken off lease.

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The guard seemed to think it'd be some sort of twist reset and looked at the button from every angle and then looked around the near by toilet cubicle looking for a reset before calling the driver. 

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To date the only change I've noticed other than a bit of re-branding is that guards are much more active in doing ticket checks. Which is a positive, as fundamentally the WCML services out of Euston didn't need fixing.

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To date the only change I've noticed other than a bit of re-branding is that guards are much more active in doing ticket checks. Which is a positive, as fundamentally the WCML services out of Euston didn't need fixing.

 

We have been through the pain GW are now experiencing (only far more so) now is the time of our gain, made even more so in Brum, by three highly successful TOCs fighting for our business, all with most excellent products.

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They don't seem to be in a hurry to re-livery the 350 fleet, I've only seen one in the new livery and that was just after the franchise change so I'm guessing it was done for initial publicity. They have got around to putting their own name over the former LM name on the train side.

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They don't seem to be in a hurry to re-livery the 350 fleet, I've only seen one in the new livery and that was just after the franchise change so I'm guessing it was done for initial publicity. They have got around to putting their own name over the former LM name on the train side.

 

I've warmed a little to the West Midlands livery but only because it is reminding me of the old Birmingham Corporation Bus livery.

 

I noticed a London Northwestern Railway class 350 the other day bearing the new company's name had been qualified by Operated by West Midlands Trains.

 

So now we are to have trains calling at Reading operated by TfL and trains calling at Wembley Central operated by West Midlands trains.

 

Blimey, these new mayors do like their empire building but does it have to be a twenty paces.

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I've warmed a little to the West Midlands livery but only because it is reminding me of the old Birmingham Corporation Bus livery.

 

Manky purple, silver & orange doesn't remind me of blue, cream & khaki. I had my eyes tested last Monday, do I need a refund? :jester:

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Manky purple, silver & orange doesn't remind me of blue, cream & khaki. I had my eyes tested last Monday, do I need a refund? :jester:

 

I feel your pain.

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I feel your pain.

 

Quite:

post-6754-0-59076100-1519568256.jpg

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Quite:

attachicon.gifDSCN1278.JPG

 

Someone let the kids lose with crayon box again.

 

That livery says to me, "This is what happens when good design meets the group standard and the group standard is allowed to win four nil."

 

It reminds me of a broken kaleidoscope.

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The thing that struck me about the one LNWR liveried 350 I've seen is how much darker the front end looks as a result of limiting yellow to the end doors. And it makes it harder to see where different sets are joined which may be quite problematic given how many of the longer distance services split at Northampton.

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I like the purple livery although would prefer a full yellow end, but don't like the LNW doom green. The purple livery suits the 172s and looks distinctive and modern when compared to our dismal WAG liveried Arriva 158s in their new dark teal, which look just like the old all rail-blue DMUs which all the then contemporary enthusiasts used to moan was dull and boring.

 

However, the colour of the trains really only upsets enthusiasts and trendy wendy designers. All the punters for whom the railway is really run and pay for it couldn't give a flying duck so long as the train is on time, tickets are reasonable and they can get on board (preferably with a seat but at least somewhere they can stand without falling over or being crushed), so to be honest it matters not a jot if we like the colours or not, so long as the product is right and the graphics help sell the product in a memorable way so as to attract car users to the services.

 

That said the old Ray Stenning designed LondonMidland livery was excellent and was carried through into the interior and on publicity and websites in a coherent way which the new West Midlands and London NW brands are in danger of diluting.

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