The Anonymous Widower

South Wales Metro: Lack Of Toilets Tram-Trains ‘Dehumanising’

The title of this post is the same as that on this article on the BBC.

This is the first two paragraphs.

he lack of toilets on new tram-trains that will serve the south Wales valleys has been branded “dehumanising”.

Trams proposed for the new £738m south Wales rail network upgrade, planned for 2022, will not have toilets on board.

This toilet issue was raised with Crossrail and I wrote about it in 2015, in Do Crossrail Trains Need Toilets?.

Now that the Crossrail trains have been running for some time, toilet issues don’t seem to be raised.

September 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

A Toilet On A London Underground Train

On my short journey between City Thameslink, and London Bridge stations, I sat next to one of the toilets.

I also made use of the facility.

As there is a lot of pressure to show Thameslink on the Tube Map, will these trains become the only trains on the Underground to have toilets?

As modern controlled emission toilets, don’t throw anything on the tracks, they can be safely used anywhere.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is It With The Welsh And Batteries?

If ordering two fleets of rail vehicles with batteries, that I wrote about in The Greening Of The Valleys, KeolisAmey Wales have now gone and ordered a third fleet for North Wales.

This article in the Railway Gazette is entitled Vivarail D-Trains For Wales & Borders.

This is the first paragraph.

Incoming Wales & Borders franchisee KeolisAmey is to take delivery of five three-car Class 230 D-Train diesel-battery multiple-units from Vivarail, which is to produce them using the bogies and aluminium bodyshells of withdrawn London Underground D78 metro trains.

Note that they are described as diesel-battery trains.

The article says the Class 230 trains will be used on these lines.

Five trains have been ordered, but I suspect it will eventually be more.

I believe that this picture shows a property of the Class 230 train, that would be ideal for Welsh routes or any other scenic lines.

They have large windows and get the interior design right and they could become an iconic way to fill a difficult niche market.

  • A reliable hourly or half-hourly service on a remote line.
  • A quality interior with everything customers expect like a fully-accessible toilet, wi-fi and power sockets.
  • Space for bikes, buggies, babies and wheel-chairs.
  • Step-free entry between train and platform was possible at some stations on the District Line and I suspect that many stations could be made, so that wheelchairs and buggies could just roll across.
  • The ability to be serviced remotely.

Note that the train is fitted with toilets from Cwmbran in South Wales.

Did Transport for Wales say, that if you fitted Welsh toilets, we’ll buy a few trains?

I suspect though, that they are much better toilets, than those I saw as a child in castles like Caernarfon, Conway and Harlech, where the inhabitants in the Middle Ages must have been quick on the job to avoid the getting shot with arrows, where it would hurt!

I suspect constipation was rare in those days!

Seriously though, here’s a video of the Class 230 trains for Wales.

This video comes from this article in this article on Wrexham.com.

How Do The Trains Work?

I obviously don’t know exactly, but I suspect the method of operation is very similar to that of some of the advanced hybrid buses, like a new Routemaster.

Each of the diesel engines have a generator, which produces electricity. This can either be fed directly to the traction motors to power the train or stored in the onboard battery.

The train’s control system manages the power and chooses, whether traction power comes from the diesel engine or the battery.

This means that the diesel engines don’t have to work all the time.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toilets In Class 345 Trains

I visited this topic in Do Crossrail Trains Need Toilets? over two years ago, when I said this.

Surely, a much better and more affordable solution would be to update the ribbon maps in all Underground and Crossrail trains to show if the station had toilets, in the same way, they show the step free access. Some extra signs on stations showing the status and location of toilets would also be a good idea.

Incidentally on the Essex and Reading legs of Crossrail, several of the stations already have decent toilets. Getting off a train and catching the next one, to have a relaxed toilet break, is probably not a huge delay, due to the high frequency of the trains.

London has a chance to set high standards in this area, without putting toilets on any trains.

My views haven’t changed, but I do think that now the Aventra is in limited service, I can speculate further.

Walk-through Trains, First Class And Toilets

London now has five walk-through trains.

In some ways the Class 700 train is the odd train out, as it has both First Class seating and toilets.

It should also be noted that Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains don’t have First Class, but it appears they have toilets.

Walk-through trains are an undoubted success, as any Overground or Underground passenger will confirm, after seeing the way other passengers move around the train to both get a seat and be able to make a convenient exit.

First Class causes problems, as it blocks off this passenger circulation, unless it as one end of the train. But this means that First Class passengers might have a long walk to their seat at the wrong end of the day.

I wonder if walk-through trains encourage passengers to not use First Class, as the freedom to circulate in Standard Class makes the travel experience better.

It will be interesting to see how posh commuters from Frinton take to Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains.

Another problem of First Class sitting at one end of the train, is that if toilet provision is made, there must be a toilet near to First Class.

So if you don’t have First Class in a train up to perhaps ten cars, you can get away with perhaps a universal access toilet and a standard one.

From comments I get, most people seem to like the Class 395 trains or Javelins, that work the Highspeed services to Kent. These trains are six-car, with no First Class and two toilets.

So are these trains setting the standard for the Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains?

Toilets On Class 345 Trains

The initial layout of Crossrail with terminals at Abbey Wood, Heathrow, Reading and Shenfield, has a longest journey from Reading to Shenfield of 102 minutes according to the Crossrail web site. But there are toilet facilities at Reading and Shenfield.

However, there is the possibility, that Crossrail trains may serve other terminals like Gravesend, High Wycombe, Southend and Tring.

Tring to Southend would be a journey of two hours, so a toilet is probably a necessity.

The current Class 345 trains have been designed to be nine-car units, although at present they are running as seven cars because of platform length issues at Liverpool Street.

I’ve read somewhere that Crossrail has been designed so that the trains can be increased to ten cars, if there should be a need for more capacity.

  • Platforms have been lengthened to at least two hundred metres.
  • All stations seem to have been updated for a large number of passengers.
  • Lengthening from seven to nine cars is obviously a simple matter.
  • A similar lengthening of the Class 378 trains was not a major exercise.

So surely, it would be a simple matter to slot in a car with a toilet.

So perhaps we might see an extra tenth car added to Class 345 trains, that is tailored to the route, as this ability to add and remove cars, is a feature of all Aventras.

Hitachi’s Class 800 trains also have the capability, as I suspect every well-designed train has.

The Ultimate Airport Train

Imagine a tenth car on Heathrow services.

  • Disabled toilet.
  • Ticket machine.
  • Visitor information and shop.
  • Space for large luggage.

The mind boggles!

Conclusion

If an operator wanted Aventras with a disco car, I’m sure Bombardier would oblige! At a price!

 

August 20, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Toilets In The City Of London

I saw this sign on the door of a pub near Liverpool Street station in the City of London.

Community Toilets In The City Of London

Community Toilets In The City Of London

Read more about it on this page on the City of London web site.

If you look at the page, you’ll see something rare on a web site – The author of the page is credited.

Does your council have community toilets?

The web page does say, that there is a payment from the council for providing the service.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

The Minimum Payment On Contactless Payment

On Saturday, I went out without my real handkerchief, so just before I got my train, I popped into Boots at Liverpool Street station and bought a pack of tissues for the princely sum of forty-five pence.

As I always do in Boots, I used a self-service till, but this time I used my contactless American Express card for the purchase, by just tapping it on the reader.

In some ways that seemed a bit cheeky to me and it certainly raised a smile in myself.

So now, my on-line American Express statement has an entry for 0.45p against Boots.

It got me thinking and yesterday I was taken short in Nottingham station.

Using The Toilet In Nottingham Station

Using The Toilet In Nottingham Station

How long before public toilets like these in stations gocredit contactless?

September 3, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Toilets In Katowice Station

When I saw the toilets, I just had to take pictures and they deserve a section of their own.

In some ways, these facilities are a great reason to choose Katowice as a station to change trains.

I think they cost me about twenty pence to enter.

They give the phrase going to the loo, a whole new meaning. Apparently 2theloo is a Dutch idea and company.

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Do Crossrail Trains Need Toilets?

ITV have published this web article entitled The £1bn Crossrail where you can’t spend a penny.

It’s a catchy headline, but is the article just knocking copy to get views or rival politicians making a point.

At present, the Class 315 trains that run from Shenfield to Liverpool Street, do not have toilets. The journey takes up to forty three minutes. So does anybody get taken short on a train?

I discussed this with a customer support guy, that I met at Tottenham Court Road. We thought that some Underground journeys would be longer. I’ve just looked up Cockfosters to Heathrow, which is a journey that if I still lived in the area where I grew up, I’d probably do occasionally. It takes ninety minutes.

So if toilets were to be provided on Crossrail Class 345 trains as some journeys will take nearly an hour, they should probably be provided on long distance Underground services.

In my chat at Tottenham Court Road, I was reminded about the version of the iconic tube map that shows the location of toilets. It actually shows, whether toilets at stations are inside or outside the gate line.

Surely, a much better and more affordable solution would be to update the ribbon maps in all Underground and Crossrail trains to show if the station had toilets, in the same way, they show the step free access. Some extra signs on stations showing the status and location of toilets would also be a good idea.

Incidentally on the Essex and Reading legs of Crossrail, several of the stations already have decent toilets. Getting off a train and catching the next one, to have a relaxed toilet break, is probably not a huge delay, due to the high frequency of the trains.

London has a chance to set high standards in this area, without putting toilets on any trains.

Although saying that, Thameslink’s Class 700 trains will have toilets, but then Brighton to Peterborough might take two hours plus.

Perhaps, ITV should stick to reporting the news they do best, like I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

 

January 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 8 Comments

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 PCC.eu 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 | , , , , | 3 Comments

Do British Trains Do Toilets Well?

I travel on trains a lot and so I tend to use the facilities quite a bit.

I have come across the concessional blocked one on a train, but in the last few months, all have been immaculate.

A lot of the ones I’ve used in stations over the last year, have been immaculate too, like the ones at Southport, Wigan and Lowestoft!

In my travels across Europe, if I give the British toilets say  eight out of ten, some countries don’t get above five. And we’re not talking about countries with lower standards of living than the UK.

So perhaps toilets are something that British trains do well?

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment