HALCO Europe Ltd is supporting UK-based West Midlands Trains with integral seating components on a fleet of brand new Class 196 trains.
Back in 2019, West Midlands Railway ordered a total of 26 brand new diesel trains – known in the rail industry as Class 196s – as part of a huge investment in the region’s railway network. Despite delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both on the manufacturing and testing processes, and on driver training, the trains were progressively introduced into service in mid-2021.
Jane Fisher, transition and projects director for West Midlands Railway, explains: “These smart, modern trains will boost capacity across our network and come with features such as under floor heating and extra luggage space, which I am certain will prove popular with passengers.”
Customer experience has been at the heart of the design process, with a particular emphasis placed on the comfort and configuration of new saloon seats. The Class 196 units have additional capacity compared to existing West Midlands Trains regional fleets. The final design scheme allows improved seat pitch and window views in all positions. Additionally, passengers will all have access to a USB point or a plug socket and every seat in standard or priority positions will have either a seat-back or fixed table. The cantilever design of the seats will also improve cleanliness and allow luggage to be stored underneath more easily.
The Class 196 units and their improved seating form part of an investment package by the train operator to improve services across the network. This includes an GB£800 million (€924.7 million) investment in new and refurbished trains – providing 20,000 extra seats for rush hour passengers in Birmingham and standing room for 50,000 more commuters in new, metro style carriages.
HALCO adhesive backed hook & loop has been an integral component in the railway seating, its aggressive rubber-based adhesive making it ideal for use on smooth surfaces in seating applications. HALCO PRO adhesive hook & loop has an immediate high strength bond, with high temperature resistance and outstanding peel and shear strength, combined with premium grade yarn used in the hook & loop components, providing up to 5,000 open/close cycles.
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