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Johnson: cushions not required for new seats

GTR 700052 at Peterborough on March 5. RICHARD CLINNICK.

Asked on February 28 about the quality of seats that are being fitted to new trains, Rail Minister Jo Johnson told Iain Stewart (Conservative, Milton Keynes South): “We do not want passengers to feel that they need to bring in their own inflatable cushions, and my hon. Friend will take comfort in the fact that seats normally become more comfortable over time, through use.”

Seats fitted to the Thameslink Class 700s and Great Western Railway Class 800 fleets have made the national news in recent weeks, due to complaints about comfort. The topic has also been the subject of heated debate on social media.

Both the ‘700s’ and ‘800s’ were specified by Government as part of the Thameslink and Intercity Express Programme train orders. The DfT told RAIL on March 5 that it had nothing further to add to Johnson’s comments, and did not respond to questions about the planned interior for the Azuma fleet.

However, in background notes, the DfT said: “The guidelines for fire safety and crashworthiness are set by the Rail Safety and Standards Board. These are legally enforceable standards that train operators are obliged to comply with.

“It is the responsibility of those procuring trains to select the seats. The DfT works with train operating companies at the design review stage to agree that the interior design they have selected for new trains complies with relevant standards.”

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  • FrankH - 06/03/2018 13:08

    “It is the responsibility of those procuring trains to select the seats." Buck passing again.

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  • FrankH - 06/03/2018 13:18

    " and my hon. Friend will take comfort in the fact that seats normally become more comfortable over time, through use.” No they don't, not if there's little padding to start with. They become will be worn out. Comfortable seats that comply with regulations can be made ,no one seems to have thought of it yet.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 07/03/2018 00:39

    Guess that passengers will have to keep on bringing in cushions to sit on the hard seats. Or endure standing up for long periods.

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  • Mark - 07/03/2018 06:07

    Q: And who procured the 700 and 800 trains? A: Government So Government selected the seats not the train operating companies! What a disengenuis comment in the background note.

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  • Ian Sargent - 07/03/2018 08:45

    I suggest Mr Johnson travels from Bedford to Brighton via Thameslink to find out just how comfortable these seats are.

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    • FrankH - 10/03/2018 11:42

      Lets have him suffer, Paddington - Penzance when the 800's go that way. Or at least a return trip Bedford - Brighton.

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  • Mark F - 07/03/2018 15:22

    “It is the responsibility of those procuring trains to select the seats. The DfT works with train operating companies at the design review stage to agree that the interior design they have selected for new trains complies with relevant standards.” Q: Who procured the 700 and 800 trains? A: DfT Q: Who therefore has been responsible for the choice of seats? Dft or the Train Companies? A: Dft So what a disengenous comment by Mr Johnson implying it was the train companies!

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  • Manchester Mike - 08/03/2018 15:35

    Rubbish. Another Johnson peddling fake advice.

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    • FrankH - 10/03/2018 11:51

      If Jo Johnson is correct the Pacer seating by now should be verging on luxurious almost Orient express standards. Use them on new stock.

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      • h - 24/03/2018 13:58

        As always its down to cost - cheapest price. Less padding = less money to produce, and lighter seats which means fuel economy and savings for the train operating companies. If it was down to rules and regulations then we would all be sitting on crap seats in cars and crap seats in airlines.

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