March 2010 in Train Operations
A reporter is concerned about the narrow aisles on the refurbished 158 units being operated by East Midlands Trains. The reporter comments that this refurbishment includes fitting new seats. The new seat bases are wider and the backs higher than the original fittings and has resulted in narrower aisles throughout the train on these units. Staff have to walk sideways down the aisles, especially when carrying revenue equipment and the reporter believes this is putting extra pressure on joints such as hips, knees and ankles.
The reporter would like to know if a full risk assessment has been carried out on the refurbishment of the 158 units, particularly in relation to the size of the seats and aisle space.
The class 158 vehicle interior layouts are being altered to increase the passenger capacity as required by a commitment to the Department for Transport in the franchise agreement.
The provision of a new seat in a unit requires it to meet latest Group Standards for crashworthiness, etc. which necessitates using an approved seat with components such as movable arm rests and high backs.
The seat fixings need to pick up the existing fixing rail in the
unit floor. There are a limited number of approved seat suppliers
for units and Grammer were selected.
A risk assessment was undertaken on the new seat layout with regard to the passenger loading, seating capacity, evacuation, aisle width, security and crashworthiness.
The minimum aisle width occurs between the armrest and is 396mm, elsewhere the nominal width is increased to 496mm. A comparison review was conducted against assessment of the class 220 DEMU vehicles which has a central aisle nominal dimension of 400mm. The 220 units have been in service for over 6 years with this seat layout without any known issues.