Travelling back from Birmingham on a hot afternoon was not a journey I was looking forward to. However, when the train pulled in, it was clear it was one of the new lengthened Pendolino trains. Not only was there a new carriage F, there was also a somewhat inexplicable named carriage U added in. Both of these carriages are standard class and not reserved, so everyone piled on. The train was still crowded which made you realise just how packed these trains must become when they’re only nine cars – as an 11 car train it still felt pretty crowded.
Sitting in one of the new carriages, it was disappointing that the air conditioning wasn’t working properly, the Wi-Fi wasn’t available and the electric sockets weren’t working, but then again, it’s only a multimillion pound new carriage. It underlines how difficult it is to plug in new carriages into existing trains and make all the software, etc mesh – this certainly is not plug and play.
However, the new capacity is extremely welcome and will give some relief to passengers who have been crammed in like sardines on these services for some time.