Cush­ions not re­quired, says Rail Min­is­ter John­son

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

Asked on Fe­bru­ary 28 about the qual­ity of seats that are be­ing fit­ted to new trains, Rail Min­is­ter Jo John­son told Iain Ste­wart (Con­ser­va­tive, Mil­ton Keynes South): “We do not want pas­sen­gers to feel that they need to bring in their own in­flat­able cush­ions, and my hon. Friend will take com­fort in the fact that seats nor­mally be­come more com­fort­able over time, through use.”

Seats fit­ted to the Thames­link Class 700s and Great Western Rail­way Class 800 fleets have made the na­tional news in re­cent weeks, due to com­plaints about com­fort.

Both the ‘700s’ and ‘800s’ were spec­i­fied by Gov­ern­ment as part of the Thames­link and In­ter­city Ex­press Pro­gramme train or­ders.

The DfT told RAIL on March 5 that it had noth­ing fur­ther to add to John­son’s com­ments, and did not re­spond to ques­tions about the planned in­te­rior for the Azuma fleet.

How­ever, in back­ground notes, the DfT said: “The guide­lines for fire safety and crash­wor­thi­ness are set by the Rail Safety and Stan­dards Board. These are legally en­force­able stan­dards that train op­er­a­tors are obliged to com­ply with.

“It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of those procur­ing trains to se­lect the seats. The DfT works with train op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies at the de­sign re­view stage to agree that the in­te­rior de­sign they have se­lected for new trains com­plies with rel­e­vant stan­dards.”

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