A repost of a slightly old note from my Facebook profile, updated…
1) Not enough seats, especially ones with tables – yes, even in first class
2) Seats that don’t line up with windows – even in first class, if you’re unlucky enough to sit in coach H, seat 02A, which has the added bonus of the rubbish table to rub a bit more salt into the wound.
3) What was that about “windows”? More like port-holes – the Pendolino has 50% less glazing compared to it’s predecessor, allegedly in the name of “crashworthiness”, but one informed source tells me that it was a cost cutting measure as well.
4) Crap heating and ventilation – a never-ending battle seems to be played out by the floor-level heaters and the ceiling-level air conditioner, your legs being toasted while your head is chilled, waves of sickening heat waft up to your face, while icy blasts blow down the back of your neck. Heating fights cooling fights heating. This is environmentally friendly how?
5) Noisy. Creaks, squeaks and rattles are the order of the day. Interior materials seem to be designed to reflect or even amplify noise, not absorb it.
6) Nasty, mucky, cramped, and smelly loos, with comedy handwashing. Dirty toilet bowls, tiny trickles of water, pathetic hand dryers.
7) “The Shop”. The railway buffet car meets 7-Eleven. Works on the assumption that passengers shall be denied edible food. Don’t even get me started on those “tubes” of UHT milk – nasty. But all tea and coffee is fairtrade, so that makes it okay. Not.
8) Just what did the person sat in the so-called “window” seat do that’s so bad that they are denied an armrest?
9) An apparently perfect Faraday Cage which prevented mobiles/3G dongles working – at least until a mobile phone repeater system was retro-fitted to each train.
10) Comedic (well, it would be if you hadn’t paid for it), unreliable provision of “inclusive” First Class food and drink. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not, but whatever it is, in my experience it’s frequently not as advertised, and passengers aren’t warned in advance. When I’ve raised this with on-board staff, and with VT HQ, their response is that I “only bought a journey from A to B” and they aren’t under any obligation to provide any of the services illustrated in their marketing material, as it’s a “complimentary” service as opposed to an “inclusive” service. Bunch of weasels!
Pendolino might have taken a step forward in terms of journey time, but at the expense of several steps back in terms of passenger comfort. I guess the silver lining to this cloud is that the quicker journey time means you’re not on the dratted thing for as long.
It’s predecesor, the iconic HST, was proof that designing for both the passengers and for profit can be done.