Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

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Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby bostontrainguy » Sun May 06, 2018 3:11 pm

I have to say the trend of rear-facing seats on more and more trains really bothers me. I hate riding backwards and many people complain of feeling nauseous because of it. If anything we all know the situation of seats being too close to allow rotating and the good old fashion flip-over seats that are still in use today on some trains (e.g. Metra). The need to rotate seat-pairs at least guarantees good spacing between rows but many agencies are going for tighter seating with permanent rear-facing seats vs. former flip-over seat backs.

On Amtrak however, I don't think there is really an excuse except for the manpower and time it takes to rotate the seats. Good example is the Downeaster. However, as usual, other countries are way ahead of us solving such problems. Check out how the Japanese handle it: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/dest ... seats.html
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby mtuandrew » Sun May 06, 2018 3:33 pm

Devil’s advocate: rear facing seats are significantly safer in crashes.

If you get motion sickness from riding backwards, I hope you can find a conductor and try to switch seats. They aren’t going away.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby D Alex » Sun May 06, 2018 4:12 pm

Often when groups of 4 people travel together, having seats that face each other is a big plus.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun May 06, 2018 4:15 pm

its also a huge penalty as one person sits in huge space and won't let group sit there.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby Ken W2KB » Sun May 06, 2018 8:50 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Devil’s advocate: rear facing seats are significantly safer in crashes.

If you get motion sickness from riding backwards, I hope you can find a conductor and try to switch seats. They aren’t going away.


I've toured a number of military transport category aircraft and my vague recollection is that the passenger seats were all rear facing as that substantially reduced injuries in a crash landing.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby bostontrainguy » Sun May 06, 2018 10:07 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:Devil’s advocate: rear facing seats are significantly safer in crashes.

If you get motion sickness from riding backwards, I hope you can find a conductor and try to switch seats. They aren’t going away.


I've toured a number of military transport category aircraft and my vague recollection is that the passenger seats were all rear facing as that substantially reduced injuries in a crash landing.


True, but you're not looking out of a window at things going by you at 80 MPH.

I actually did ride backwards once on a commercial flight. Never saw this before and never saw it again, but the first row of seats against the bulkhead faced backwards. It was many years ago and I don't remember much more about it. I am thinking it was Continental out of Boston flying to Florida. I do remember the take-off was very weird.
Last edited by bostontrainguy on Mon May 07, 2018 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby Patrick Boylan » Mon May 07, 2018 5:48 am

Rear facing seats and a railfan window, such as NJT's River Line or SEPTA's Market Frankford line or Silverliner 4's also give one the fantastic sensation of a dolly zoom when the train stops.
My most vivid memory of this was in ancient times on an RDC, I think you yunguns call them DMU's, on SEPTA's defunct Newtown line. The friendly crews of yore let us hang out in the rear cab which had both an engineer's and a fireman's seat. The train ran nonstop from Fox Chase to Wayne Junction. I hope you gentle readers can imagine the optical effect at that stop after about 5 miles of having your eyes focus on receding landmarks.
For some reason I don't remember getting the same effect looking out the back door of an Amtrak locomotive hauled train.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon May 07, 2018 7:59 am

That last post makes we want to add: "Except for sitting backwards on an observation car platform!"
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby electricron » Mon May 07, 2018 8:35 am

bostontrainguy wrote:I have to say the trend of rear-facing seats on more and more trains really bothers me. I hate riding backwards and many people complain of feeling nauseous because of it. If anything we all know the situation of seats being too close to allow rotating and the good old fashion flip-over seats that are still in use today on some trains (e.g. Metra). The need to rotate seat-pairs at least guarantees good spacing between rows but many agencies are going for tighter seating with permanent rear-facing seats vs. former flip-over seat backs.

On Amtrak however, I don't think there is really an excuse except for the manpower and time it takes to rotate the seats. Good example is the Downeaster. However, as usual, other countries are way ahead of us solving such problems. Check out how the Japanese handle it: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/dest ... seats.html

I'm sorry you get sick riding backwards in a train. The Japanese solution for turning the seats has to cost lots of money. Here's my solution for your problem, don't ride backwards in the train. If there aren't any forward facing seats left, remain standing. You do not have to sit to ride a train.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby ExCon90 » Mon May 07, 2018 2:55 pm

Until about the fifties, all trains had either flip-over or revolving seats in coach (and on Pacific Electric, even in streetcars); the conductor went through the coach almost at walking speed, flipping the seats, or giving the revolving ones a good yank. Eventually the wear and tear took its toll and it proved cheaper to fix the seats in one position rather than fix the seats. Subsequent equipment orders often provided for fixed-position seats.
As to Mr. Boylan's comments, I have had the same sensation when looking out the rear of an observation car (when they still had them) after doing 79 for many miles and seeing the landscape we had just traversed coming forward to meet me -- a strange feeling.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby ConstanceR46 » Wed May 09, 2018 2:10 am

I feel like a good solution to this is both looping/wyeing trains when it's available or having forward seats to complement the backwards ones. Not making them illegal, that's pure foam.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby mtuandrew » Wed May 09, 2018 12:51 pm

ConstanceR46 wrote:I feel like a good solution to this is both looping/wyeing trains when it's available or having forward seats to complement the backwards ones. Not making them illegal, that's pure foam.

Amtrak has its Horizon fleet set up that way: front half of the car faces backwards, rear faces forward, with a pair of tables in the center. Wyes are ok, balloon tracks are better because you don’t need a brake test or conductor w/backing hose, but there simply isn’t room or money for them at most locales.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby bostontrainguy » Wed May 09, 2018 12:56 pm

I think we need more info on that cool Japanese system. How does it work and is it that expensive?
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby Arborwayfan » Fri May 18, 2018 2:13 am

In the American Railroad Passenger Car (a book from about 1975), when talking about early Pullman cars, the author says that one of the problems was "the peculiar American aversion to riding backwards" (or words to that effect). For decades European trains mostly had facing-seat compartments -- what my son called "a Harry Potter train" when we rode one in Germany a couple months ago -- and all the seats I have seen in Norway, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands appear to be fixed, about half facing each way, with a few facing sets of four. Do Europeans just not care, or just put up with it? My mother and my son don't like to ride backwards, and say they feel sick.

In 1997 on a San Diegan I was riding in the cab car and wanted a forward-facing seat to look out the front door. Amfleet. So I stepped on the pedal and started to turn the seat around, but the conductor came and stopped me. The seats were kind of random in that car. Since then I have wondered why Amtrak didn't allow (or that conductor didnt allow) passengers to turn the seats. It was not walkover, but it was pretty simple and didn't take a lot of strength.
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Re: Rear Facing Seats Should Be Illegal

Postby talltim » Fri May 18, 2018 3:56 am

I prefer facing backwards, I find the view out the window is better
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