So, just how cramped are you?

Issued under a Creative Commons licence

Issued under a Creative Commons licence

Finding out about the amount of legroom on trains is like trying finding out the Queen’s inside leg measurement: it’s risky, fraught with difficulty, and tantamount to treason.

Legroom (or lack of it) is a pet hate of mine, having endured many journeys where I have had to sit perfectly still, lest my thigh come into contact with the stranger’s opposite. I mean, thigh rubbing is more a third date thing.

Having contacted all the major rail companies and been ignored/refused by all of them, the best figures available were courtesy of Justin Smith on railforums.co.uk. He measured the distance from the rear of the seat to where one’s knees normally would be. I converted them from inches to centimetres, and put them into a table, and a graph. The list is not exhaustive.

As you can see, Northern Rail is the worst train company, with all of their rolling stock offering just 66cm in legroom – that’s the same as a 26 inch telly. However, the worst single train is the East Midlands class 158, with 63.5cm of legroom. This train is a long-distance train that runs from Norwich to Liverpool – a journey that takes over four hours. Ouch.

At a third more room than Northern Rail, Hull Trains offers the most generous legroom for standard class passengers, at a capacious 86.4cm – the same as in first class. Finally, a reason to go to Hull! Out of the trains to offer ‘priority’ seating (generally for those who are disabled, with pushchairs or small children), only on Hull Trains is the priority seating more generous than in first class – but only by two centimetres.

The average length of seating in the eight trains with First Class is 90.8cm, whereas standard class in the same eight trains measures at an average of just 73.7cm. The biggest class divide is on the electric East Coast train (which runs on the West Coast Main Line), with 25.3cm difference between first class and standard class.

Part of the reason why it is so difficult to work out on which journeys you will be luxuriating in space or wedged in like a Lego brick at an orgy is because the seating layout is not dependent on the train company itself, but the rolling stock each company runs (i.e. looking at different carriages – trainspotting territory).

However, even if two train companies own the same type of rolling stock, they often refurbish the interiors to their own specifications. Therefore, it is highly likely that legroom on a train is almost as idiosyncratic as the train itself. Perhaps the best advice is to invest in a straitjacket, so you will be sure you can use the seat next to you to put your feet up.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

What goes up…the cable car in numbers

cable car main image

The Emirates Air Line (as we must call it by the law of corporate sponsorship) has been open since June 2012. A short jaunt linking the O2 arena with the Excel Conference centre at the Royal Docks, the cable car has proved controversial: confusing some and baffling others. So just how many Londoners are commuting to work like a villain from a bad James Bond film?

Chart-animated

During the Olympics it reportedly got 70,000 visitors a week, but in those heady days Londoners believed they could fly and there was wiff-waff at the Excel Centre. Annoyingly, TFL figures don’t stretch back that far, but numbers hovered around 40,000 in the months afterwards, glimpsing their former glory in the first week of November, when 70,704 took to the sky.

Continue reading

Questions you didn’t ask: Couples discounts?

Wherein we answer questions you didn’t know you asked us, because you didn’t ask us them. It’s what boring people call ‘community generated content’. Sort of.

Dawwww. You sweetie-pie. Continue reading

Questions you didn’t ask: Copter vs Drone?


Wherein we answer questions you didn’t know you asked us, because you didn’t ask us them. It’s what boring people call ‘community generated content‘. Sort of.

Today’s question, randomly culled from Twitter:

Good question Andy! Let’s pretend you live somewhere near Luton Airport and are looking to commute to central London. Continue reading