Barry Doe, RAIL Fares and Services expert
I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the first refurbished Class 444 Desiro unit - as these are lovely trains with good seats, and refurbishment so often means worse seats, less legroom and a more barren environment.
I need not have feared. Standard Class seats have a new moquette with a leather top for durability, and are as comfortable as before. Spacing and legroom are unchanged, and the provision of power points at every bay will be well-received.
The disused buffet has been removed, as has the guard’s office. This has created space for more seats.
First Class has unfortunately changed from 2+1 seating to 2+2, but with new leather seats that are comfortable. Four tables of four are included and (again) legroom preserved.
The great thing is that ambience has been preserved with reading lights and new curtains. The area has been reduced in size owing to going 2+2, which has also allowed more Standard seats.
The overall result is an extra 32 seats per unit, taking seating capacity of a ten-car train to 732.