The folks over at Virgin Trains are well-chuffed that they are going to continue to run the West Coast Mainline on a “caretaker” franchise until 2014.
The decision, along with the promise of a review of rail franchising in the UK, also seems to have restored RB’s wavering faith in the system, as he is now appealing to the public for ideas to help Virgin win the 2014 competition.
So, I have a suggestion…
I’m really not a fan of poor industrial design, and think the Pendolino contains a number of design faux-pas which negatively affect the passenger experience, which I’ve written about before.
But, the biggest of these has to be that the seats don’t line up with the windows.
Despite this being cracked by railway engineers as long ago as the 1900s, the view from the window seems to have become a forgotten talent when it comes to putting together modern trains such as the Pendolino.
Fixing the existing problem on the Pendolino won’t be easy. It has significantly less window area that it’s predecessors (or the Voyagers that Virgin also use). Maybe a more sympathetic reconfiguration of the interior, such as moving luggage racks to positions which don’t have a window, will make things better for the existing equipment, which will be approaching it’s mid-life at franchise renewal time.
But, it needs to be one of the things built into the specification when ordering new trains in the future. It will improve the passenger experience by making the train seem more spacious, and help combat the travel-sickness some associate with travelling on the Pendolino.
So, a view outside. Maybe that’s the biggest single improvement that Virgin Trains could deliver. Make the #seatslineupwithwindows.