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

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TFL and some Graphic Grumblings

It’s no secret that we at London Locomotion enjoy some commuter complaining. It’s a time to revel in our community, to stand arm in arm with our fellow tube-goers (like we have a choice) and say: “Hey TFL, go eff yo’selves!…luv ya really xxx”

But it seems that, when push comes to shove (as it always does), we commuters eschew the official channels of complaint. According to TFL records, they receive very few complaints about the London Underground. Like, very, very few. In fact, 2012 saw just was 2.27 people per 100,000 complaining for the full year. Now, call us crazy – loco even – but this just seems pitiful. Come on, commuters, think about the delays! The smell! The rats! Rise up and complain, for god’s sake!

In the meantime, here’s a pretty graph to show you how ungrumbletastic our community really is. And if that doesn’t stir you, think about this….CYCLISTS moan more than us. And they’re supposed to be hippy happy all the bloody time.

Meanwhile, as a means of inspiration, here are the top reasons for complaint made to TFL about the Tube. ‘Other’ takes the biggest slice. I’m hoping that includes at least one person complaining about the lack of tube-complaining.

The Hot Line

Rejoice, fellow commuters! For we have been gifted with yet another illuminating survey attempting to determine ONCE AND FOR ALL what the best and worst London tube stations are.

Scientists Who Specialise in Silly Surveys about Underground Transport (to give you your full and correct name), allow us to save you time: the worst is Bank. It’s always Bank.

We can also confirm that it is, however, scientifically impossible to choose the best, as that’s like choosing between your children. (Not because you love them all equally, but because just when you’ve got one to momentarily cease poking you in the nostril the other will start shovelling dog food into its mouth with both pudgy little hands. You know?)

Luckily, dear readers, we here at London Locomotion are nothing if not dedicated. So we decided to bring you an alternative. We present to you The Hot Line.

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