I think it’s safe to say we can skip the why’s and wherefores’! Anyone familiar with Puffing Billy will know that passenger numbers are through the roof and our little trains are struggling to cope with the ever-increasing demand. At the same time, as much as we try and dissuade them, our marketing department insist on jetting off to the next growing overseas market, building relationships with tour operators who send us yet more passengers!
- Two seating options, the first with longitudinal bench seats as per the existing cars, and the second with 2+1 transverse seating and end doors to allow for walk-through functionality. The walk-through option would allow for future inclusion of food and drink service on the trains, access to toilets, and maybe even a buffet or bar car. It was also considered advantageous to make access to seating easier, particularly for people with reduced mobility. 2 + 1 seating would negate the need for squeezing along the narrow gap in front of a bench seat already occupied with adults, kids, bags etc.
- End windows, which you might have picked up from the images, were originally just added to the disabled access end of the proposed NBHC type carriages. It was envisaged that these combined guards/disabled access vehicles would operate with the guards compartment on the in-board end, creating the effect of an observation end, and hopefully a much-improved visual experience for our disabled visitors.
- In a further iteration, and for consistency, these end windows were added to both ends of the NBH and NBHC type vehicles, with a view to increasing passenger security and safety. Whilst we can’t have a conductor in every carriage, guards and conductors must be as vigilant as possible, and these end windows would potentially allow staff to keep a better eye out along the train.