The franchise requirement for these 10 car trains is to have 546 seats and 673 standing (total capacity 1219 including toilets and one class only) compared to 1182 for the Class 707s. The solo seats on the 707s are very popular as you have more room although in all cases legroom is much tighter than in a Desiro. It is therefore important that these new trains are not seen as providing even less comfortable seating than the new ones they will replace. When will SWR share their thoughts on the proposed interior layouts, display mock ups and consult us on the options ?
Some bad news for suburban commuters as some renders of the class 701 interior show the now famous fainsa 'ironing board's seats, the same as the class 707s (people have complained about them on here before) These are very uncomfortable, and will probably result in scores of passenger complaints, as has happened with Thameslink (their new trains also have ironing board seats).
Greater Anglia have recently modified their new Aventura trains to incorporate a different seat, one that is vastly more comfortable, after both user groups and shareholders conplained, so it isnt impossible to change them at a relatively late stage.
Could admin feedback to the responsible party that it really is not a good idea to incorporate these seats, and it will probably also result in bad publicity for SWR as well.
I have also seen these CGI renders, in the "bookazine" "Britain's New Trains". They are indeed the dreaded Fainsa ironing boards, rammed up against the sides and with no spacers between seats. They also have no tip-down seat-back tables, which will be a downgrade for the Reading line and a bizarre decision considering that charging points and WiFi encourage working on the train.
As you say, GA dumped the Fainsa seats for something better and also added seat-back tables. They also removed the intrusive heater ducting by specifying underfloor heating.
So come on SWR, will you do the same? Unfortunately, I can guess the answer...
To be fair, SWR has underfloor heating as part of their public specification for the trains (according to their Stakeholder Report). I really hope they don't go ahead with the Fainsa idea, it's not a good idea to attract more negative publicity for a major part of their bid. Even the full backed seats on the Crossrail 345 trains would be better. As for a downgrade on the Reading line, it's quite difficult to downgrade from the mess that is the 458, but at least they do have the seat back tables. It may be a little too late to change the seats, but I hope they do change it. Reasonable seats for metro journeys with seatback tables and good legroom is good enough for me.
It was my friend whos got a copy, or digital copy, of the magazine who told me - unfortunately I have no link myself, I would love to see the proposed interior colour scheme as well.
I like the 458s, I think they are more comfortable than the 450s, personally; the 701 will be a major downgrade compared to both.
I'm not sure if it's too late or not to change the seat, I know they were ordered a while ago, but I don't think physical construction has started yet. However as swr is partly owned by worst, sorry, first group, I'm not getting my hopes up
Maybe we could start a petition or something to show support for a change of seat?