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Railwatch 078 - December 1998

Railwatch - Improving the Sprinter

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Dr Paul Salveson criticised as horrible the internal design of class 150 Sprinters - like the one pictured above by Nick Lewis at Ferryside, Carmarthen - which are used on many lines throughout Britain as horrible. "Children can't see out of the windows and none of the seats are properly aligned with windows," he said.

Shirley Dex advised rail users who were unhappy with train design to contact their local Rail Users Consultative Committee which is consulted about new trains.

Richard Crane of the Bedford to Bletchley Rail Users said: "We did not want Pacers on our line so we have had to keep the old 117s longer. But we will eventually get 150s which we see as a big improvement."

In some respects, the 150s are very good trains. They are robust, very reliable and economical. But they do not have enough room for bikes and luggage.

Unlike the Pacers, however, the 150s are not beyond redemption. The interior layout could be improved and a third coach inserted in the centre which could have a large area of flexi-space for wheelchairs, bikes, luggage and even standing passengers at crush times.

The strategic rail authority could give train investment grants to operators which would be an incentive to deliver this very real improvement.

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