An innovative new system to stow seats within passenger train carriages to create space for freight during off-peak services has been designed with funding from RSSB.
The new seating system will for the first time enable train operating companies to configure specific carriages to carry either passengers or high-value freight. The technology can be retrofitted into existing carriages or integrated into new build designs and is fully compatible with both steel-frame and modern aluminium train carriage designs using cantilevered seats. The seats are designed to maximise passenger comfort and are specially engineered to add minimal extra weight to the carriage compared with existing industry standard seats.
All the seats, tables and draught screens within each section of the carriage are connected and can be moved along the length of the carriage via a system that also acts to cover the working mechanism when in passenger configuration. The control system ensures that all seats are safely secured whether carrying passenger or freight. The reconfiguration process is fully automated and takes under three minutes to complete, meaning the 20 rows of seats in a typical passenger carriage can be compressed to create cargo space equivalent to the capacity of an articulated lorry.
The carriage will help ease road congestion, cut emissions and provide faster delivery times for online customers. It was designed by 42 Technology, one of the winners of the Tomorrow’s Train Design Today competition.
A video of a working demonstration module is below from this year’s Railtex exhibition in Birmingham.