What on earth is happening to first class seats on Class 444 trains?! Is the purpose of SWR refurbishment to get rid of all first class passengers?
I commute long distance, travelling over 1.5 hours to London Waterloo almost every day. I felt it worth paying for the 1st class ticket, because I want to have space to work on these journeys to make some use of the time or to be able to sleep comfortably. Since I am quite tall, I found it impossible to do so in standard seats, no enough leg space, seats not tall enough.
With the new Class 444 refurbished first class, all the benefits I used to justify paying for my first class season ticket have now gone away. This is madness, what are SWR trying to achieve by this?
Here is the list of changes I’ve observed in the new refurbished first class carriage:
As not to be completely negative, you do now have a new wireless charging area on shared tables, ha!
Class 444 were the last SWR trains where 1st class seats offered a reasonable level of comfort. When the new company with GWR in partnership took over, I expected that GWR standards of first class will be implemented on SWR, only now I see how wrong I was, extremely frustrating!
If this is the way SWR are going with long-distance Class 444 trains, then there is no way that I will continue paying for the 1st class season ticket.
Is there anyone else who feels the same way?
What can we do to convince SWR to stop destroying 1st class travel on their trains?
I got the 19.05 from Waterloo to Weymouth the day before yesterday (Thursday) in a 444. I had an Advance ticket for 1st class and was really disappointed at the refurbished carriage. It was half the size of the old 1st class carriage, with a 2+2 formation. The leather seats were as hard as bricks, don't recline and the armrests inbetween the seats are narrower than those in Standard Class. A really uncomfortable experience, with the Window seat feeling like you are pushed right up against the side of the train. The seats in Standard Class look far more comfortable, being the same as before and with refurbished cloth. The experience was so bad, I think I will start travelling Standard Class again, as the refurbishment is disastrous. A seat on a budget airline is far more comfortable. I really think that South Western Railways could win an award for the worst 1st class seats on any franchise now. Such a shame. I just hope they don't refurbish any other trains.
Unfortunately all the 444s, the 442s and eventually the 158s and 159s will be refurbished with the 2+2 first class seating. I think the worst first class award goes to southern who's first class seats are the same as standard, but with bits of fabric on the headrests. It could be worse..