The Anonymous Widower

It’s Only A Toilet For A Train

Some of the designs that impress me are ones where something is properly redesigned for the twenty-first or even the twenty-second century, often re-using the current outdated infrastructure.

That is why I like some of the architecture in the UK like the British Museum, the Tate Modern and Kings Cross Station have been extended in a modern style.

The UK Rail Industry has several stations on my list of good improvements, but it is also good at updating rolling stock. The stopgap High Speed Trains are still thundering to the extremes of the UK and who would predict, when the last one is retired from active service? If I live to a hundred, I suspect that some of these trains will outlive me! After all they would become a marketing man’s dream on a long tourist route like down to Cornwall, up to the North of Scotland or perhaps across Australia or Argentina, offering unprecedented comfort in a vintage train. We’ve also got the example of the HST’s humble cousins, the Class 455, which scrubbed up so well, some passengers thought they were new trains.

The UK Rail Industry has an expensive road block coming up in 2020, with the Persons of Reduced Mobility (PRM) legislation coming into force. Many older trains like the Class 156 would have to be scrapped and replaced if they couldn’t be updated to meet the new regulations.

But never underestimate the power of good design and engineering  and one of the biggest problems of the refurbishment of the Class 156 described here, namely a fully-accessible toilet has been solved.

The new toilet has been designed and built by and they call it a Comfort Zone. I first saw it described in this month’s Modern Railways.

As I travel occasionally on some of the Greater Anglia trains, that have now been updated, I shall be interested to see how it works in practice.

As the floorspace needed is smaller than the traditional PRM toilet and providing decent on-train facilities is not just a UK problem, it looks to me that this is a classic where-there’s-muck-there’s-money design.

It also shows that one of the best ways to make money is to design or invent something.

May 24, 2014 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,


  1. […] the trip to Lowestoft, I used the new disabled toilet, that as I reported had been recently installed in the Class 156. The most remarkable thing about using the toilet was […]

    Pingback by Ranging Around Suffolk And Norfolk « The Anonymous Widower | June 22, 2014 | Reply

  2. […] The branch itself is one of the most spectacular in the UK, and my train was an immaculate Class 150. I hope that unit is in the queue for the upgrade some of its sisters have received in East Anglia. […]

    Pingback by St. Erth Station And The St. Ives Branch « The Anonymous Widower | November 10, 2014 | Reply

  3. […] Some are now being refurbished, with new disabled toilets. […]

    Pingback by How Many Diesel Multiple Units Might We Need? « The Anonymous Widower | November 11, 2014 | Reply

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