Half of passengers will sit backwards on new inter-city trains

 abc.net.au  3/14/2018 7:07:46 PM   state political reporter Lucy McNally

Posted March 15, 2018 06:07:46

If you are someone who cannot stand to ride backwards on the train then here is some bad news.

The State Opposition has obtained a document showing hundreds of trains being built overseas will leave half of all passengers facing backwards on long journeys.

Currently 500 double-decker trains are being built in South Korea for the new inter-city fleet, which will take passengers between Sydney and the central and south coasts, Newcastle and the Blue Mountains.

Under freedom of information powers, Labor has obtained a Transport for NSW document showing the State Government has decided to use fixed seats, not reversible.

The current fleet has reversible seats, allowing people to face the way they are travelling, but the document states that it is not common practice in most other countries.

"Some longer distance and tourist trains use seats which can change direction to face the direction of travel, either by rotating or by having reversible seat backs — but these are in the minority," it said.

The document recommends the Government exclude reversible seating from the new fleet, saying they are heavier and harder to maintain than fixed seats.

"The [other] advantage of fixed face-to-face seating is that it can allow for tables between seat pairs and that it provides an open environment," it said.

"It also allows for groups to sit together."

Passengers will be uncomfortable and motion sick: Labor

In the report, Transport for NSW acknowledges having half of all passengers facing backwards will be unpopular.

"Many customers have provided feedback indicating that they believe the reversible seating should be a requirement for the train," the document reads.

"However, with the inclusion of other functionality such as more storage space for luggage and bikes [this] may eliminate the need for the reversible seating requirement.

"Customer expectations will need to be managed prior to the trains arriving without reversible seating."

Opposition transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said that meant the Government was already planning a spin campaign.

"But when people sit on these seats and they're facing backwards they are not going to find the trains great; many of them will get motion sickness, many of them will find the journey completely uncomfortable," she said.

"And we're not talking about a short inter-city trip.

"We're talking about trips from the Hunter, the Illawarra, these people will be facing backwards."

Topics: states-and-territories, rail-transport, nsw

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