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NSW Trains Set To Ditch Reversible Seats

Nobody enjoys riding backwards on a train - those sensitive to motion sickness can experience worse symptoms and it’s just simply not that comfortable. 

But it appears that riding backwards is eventually going to be a norm on trains in NSW as the government has opted for all new intercity trains to have fixed seating rather than reversible seats. 

This comes despite the fact that the State government’s own research into train preferences revealed that most commuters see fixed seating as a “backward step” and the reversible seats have “a strong customer appeal and usage”. 

A briefing document for Transport Minister Andrew Constance has been released under freedom of information laws and has revealed that fixed seating was chosen for new trains because reversible seats have “no proven design solution that meets safety requirements”. 

A technical paper has also found reversible seats to be more complex, heavier and require greater maintenance. They are also more susceptible to damage and vandalism and pose a greater risk of fire due to the combustible materials required to make them 

The $2.3 billion contract for the new fleet of trains will see two-by-two fixed seats installed on every double-deck carriage, meaning that around half of passengers will be forced to face backwards while travelling on them. 

The state Government has said that the new trains will be “more spacious, more comfortable and have features never before seen on our long-distance services” thanks to the upgrades. 

However, not everyone is convinced. Kevin Eadie from community group Action for Public Transport has said that the Government has ignored what commuters actually want on their trains. 

“Reversible seating would be dearer ut the question is whether Transport for NSW is interested in providing what people in NSW want,” said Mr Eadie. 

Reversible seats have been a longterm feature on NSW’s double-deck trains but railways in places like Europe, North America and Japan have always opted for fixed seating.

The first of the new trains will be introduced onto the Central Coast and Newcastle lines late next year with the rest of the fleet expected to be rolled out by the end of 2020. 

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