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Sliding seats could enable passenger trains to carry freight

08 May 2017

UK: A working demonstration module containing seats which can be automatically stowed to enable passenger train interiors to be reconfigured to carry low density, high value freight at off-peak times will be unveiled by 42 Technology at Railtex 2017. According to the developer, 20 rows of seats in a typical coach could be compressed to provide a cargo space equivalent to the capacity of an articulated lorry.

The seats, tables and draught screens within each section of an ‘Adaptable Carriage’ are connected and can be moved along rails fitted to the existing seat rails, with the sliding mechanisms, sensors and locking pins packaged within the void between the rails. The forward-folding seat allows any rubbish left on the seats to be tipped onto the floor for easier cleaning after the seats have been stowed. The reconfiguration process is fully automated and takes less than 3 min.

The concept is designed to be integrated into new-build vehicles or retrofitted into existing coaches.

Development has been supported by RSSB’s Tomorrow’s Train Design Today programme. 42 Technology is holding discussions with interested parties, and hopes that it will be able to announce a partnership by the end of the year which would undertake operational trials using a redundant coach.