diamond geezer

 Monday, January 16, 2017

If you enjoy sitting by the window when you travel by train, it's increasingly likely that on the tube you can't.

Time was when most seats faced forwards or backwards, allowing you to sit by the window and watch the outside world go by. But over the years TfL has moved towards increased amounts of longitudinal seating, either when introducing new carriages or by rotating existing seats to face the centre of the train instead. This helps to increase the space available for standing, and so boosts capacity, which means fewer passengers being left behind on the platform at peak times. Sometimes this is even achieved without loss of seats, which is no bad thing. But it does mean we now have to stare at our fellow passengers (and the adverts over their heads) instead of being able to look out of the window, and that's a pleasure lost.

So I thought I'd knock up a table to chart the decline of the window seat, on various forms of TfL transport, over the years.

 Window seats?Currently...Previously...
BakerlooYesIn most carriages, 16 central seats face forwards or backwards (in four groups of four). The other 24 seats face the centre. Carriages might be replaced (with 100% longitudinal seating) in the early 2030s.No change since the 1970s.
CentralNoThere are 38 longitudinal seats in each carriage.Before 1995, the unrefurbished carriages had 16 central seats facing forwards or backwards (in four groups of four).
CircleNoIn most carriages, 30 longitudinal seats (and 6 tip-up seats).The previous carriages, refurbished in the early 1990s and in use until 2014, also had 100% longitudinal seating.
DistrictBarelyA handful of old trains survive for the next few weeks (see next column). In the new carriages there are generally only 30 longitudinal seats (and 6 tip-up seats).In the soon-to-be extinct D stock carriages, 8 central seats face forwards or backwards (in two groups of four). The other 38 seats (and 2 tip-up seats) face the centre.
Hammersmith & CityNoIn most carriages, 30 longitudinal seats (and 6 tip-up seats).The previous carriages, refurbished in the early 1990s and in use until 2013, also had 100% longitudinal seating.
JubileeNoIn most carriages, 34 longitudinal seats.Before 1998, the old carriages had 8 central seats facing forwards or backwards (in two groups of four).
(but fewer)
In most carriages, 16 central seats face forwards or backwards (in two groups of two groups of four). The other 16 seats (and 6 tip-up seats) face the centre.Before 2012, all 58 seats in the old carriages faced forwards or backwards.
NorthernNoIn most carriages, 34 longitudinal seats (and 8 tip-up seats).The previous carriages, in use until 2001, had 16 central seats facing forwards or backwards (in four groups of four).
PiccadillyNoThere are 38 longitudinal seats in each carriage.Before 2001, the unrefurbished carriages had 16 central seats facing forwards or backwards (in four groups of four).
VictoriaNo32 longitudinal seats (and 4 tip-up seats).Before 2011, half the old carriages had 16 central seats facing forwards or backwards, and half had 100% longitudinal seating.
Waterloo & CityNoThere are 34 longitudinal seats in each carriage.Before 1993, each carriage had 20 central seats facing forwards or backwards.
(but fewer)
Refurbished layouts have been introduced in newer carriages, with the 16 seats at the ends still facing forward/backward, but the remaining seats (36 in total) now longitudinal.Older carriages retain 32 seats facing forwards or backwards, and 20 longitudinal seats.
OvergroundNoOn the vast majority of the Overground, all the seats are longitudinal - generally 32 seats per carriage.Before 2008, most seats in the old carriages faced forwards or backwards.
(for now)
On the Gospel Oak to Barking line (currently closed), most/all of the seats face forwards or backwards. New electric trains (with 100% longitudinal seating) are due to be introduced in 2018.Before 2011, most/all seats in the old carriages faced forwards or backwards.
YesOn the lines out of Liverpool Street and the Romford to Upminster line, almost all of the seats face forwards or backwards. After 2018, new trains will be introduced with mostly longitudinal seating.-
TfL RailYesAll of the seats face forwards or backwards. New Crossrail stock (with more longitudinal seating) is due to be introduced from May 2017.-
Crossrail-Carriages look like they're going to have 16 seats facing forwards or backwards (in two groups of two groups of four) and about 34 longitudinal seats.-
TramYesOn most trams 64 seats face forwards or backwards, and only six seats face the centre. Newer trams, introduced from 2012, have two additional seats.-
DanglewayYes100% of seats face forwards or backwards!-

The table's bound to be wrong, so let me know where, and I'll update as necessary.
potential errors here, please

And I wonder what you think about the decreasing number of window seats (and the consequential increase in standing room).

Sources of data include...
» TfL Rolling Stock information sheet (25 page pdf from this FoI request)
» Wikipedia: London Underground, Overground, Silverlink, Class 710, Class 487
» Other websites: Squarewheels, Tubeprune, Croydon Tramlink, New Crossrail trains, London Transport Forum

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