INTERIORS: London-based design agency SeymourPowell has released its FLEX saloon layout targeted at the premium long-distance rail travel segment.

The agency claims that, by using six swivelling seats, a major increase in internal layout permutations is possible, with the loss of just four to five seats from the overall capacity of a typical first class intermediate car, which it suggests has 39 seats.

At the core of the concept is a starting arrangement of bays with two or more sets of seats. Retractable tables would be stowed in shelves fixed to the wall. The pivots would allow two or more of the seats to rotate at an angle sufficient to take the occupant fully away from the seat in front, allowing a face-to-face pair to be created for private conversation. A rigid shell behind the seat would allow 180° rotation for total privacy, or to allow the occupant to join another group of passengers.

The flexible lyout would allow groups to pre-book a particular configuration; more permanent reconfiguaration could be undertaken rapidly by the vehicle's owner or operator.

SNCF's MooviTER demonstrator also employed rotating seats (RG 11.08 p900). It has been in traffic on TER services in Bretagne for more than a year.