2 Mar 2010

IRA explosives stolen on train

A few years ago, a case was stolen from a train at Reading. This was easily done, as the luggage shelves are by the doors. Imagine the thief’s shock when he opened it and found it was full of explosives, belonging to the IRA. He reported the incident to the police, which must have been embarrassing.

I can understand the IRA man’s problem. I travel quite extensively in Europe, usually with a medium sized rucksack and a case with enough stuff to last a couple of months.

Except in Britain, the rucksack will go on the overhead luggage rack so it is not a problem. The case is another matter. Again, except in Britain, the aisle is wide enough to wheel a case through. But except on some trains in Sweden and Denmark, it is usually difficult to find anywhere to put the case. This should not be a problem, because when seats are back-to-back, there is ample space in-between for a case.

The trouble arises because of the recent fashion for arranging seats airline-style, face-to-back. On this Danish inter-city train, there is space for cases between the seat backs. In theory, more passengers can be fitted into face-to-back seating, but it does not really work like that except on commuter trains. The minimum space between seats face-to-back is 900mm, although in Britain the train companies pack passengers in, sometimes as close as 750mm. Facing seats take up slightly more space, with a bay dimension of 1.9 metres, preferably 1.95 metres, though Electrostars are acceptable for commuter trains with a bay spacing of 1.8 meters.

The difficulty is this. Airline passengers can put large items in secure storage in the hold of the aircraft. But this is not possible on trains, and so luggage shelves have to be provided. These occupy most of the space that is saved by arranging seats airline-style, making the whole exercise pointless.

No comments:

Post a Comment