EMR Class 170 DMU (Photo: EMR)

UK: A report into what passengers want from train interiors has been produced to help inform the proposed refurbishment of Turbostar diesel multiple-units.

Built by Bombardier Transportation from the late 1990s, the units are widely deployed by various train operators on regional services across the British rail network.

The report was commissioned from independent watchdog Transport Focus by leasing company Porterbrook, with qualitative research undertaken by Define.

People who use East Midlands Railway and CrossCountry Turbostars for different types of journey were questioned about seating, interior decor, flooring, lighting, ventilation, toilets, passenger information, security, charging points, space for bikes, wheelchairs, pushchairs and luggage, and how the pandemic has changed expectations on cleaning and hygiene.

The responses varied by type of journey, with themes including that passengers would like more control over lighting and ventilation, and want to be able to store luggage close to them.

Some passengers highlighted hard seats on newer trains, and were concerned that replacing existing Turbostar seats might lead to something less comfortable.

Wheelchair users expressed a strong desire for dedicated spaces with facilities such as charging points and tables, to communicate that they are not being treated as an afterthought.

Passengers felt the interior decor should be neutral and not immediately noticeable, with a dislike of patterned carpets which passengers thought might be intended to disguise dirt.

There was a strong expectation of access to charging and power points. ‘The only things I’m bothered about are power points and comfy clean seats, because everyone is looking at their phones or out of the window, and not the décor’, said one passenger.

Most passengers had low expectations of train toilets, which they saw as a ‘necessary evil’ that needed to be present but were best avoided. Many users did not trust the electronic toilet door locking mechanisms, and expressed a preference for a traditional lock.

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