No, you can't find me in that address now as I move out from the hall. Though I hang around there so...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The "Joy" of High Speed Train (UK Class 43)

(A reply to Joshua Muggleton's Train Again.)

Yes, their engine is one of the noisiest I've ever seen, though hopefully the life extension programme will see the original engine (called Paxman) changed to something just "less" noisy. Some actually lamented the loss of such roar, I, for one rail enthusiast, would definitely not!

I studied in Bath for two years between 2002 and 2004, and travelled a lot between London and Bath. The noise that the train pulls in is unbearable even after two years. I certainly would hate standing in between the vestibules, unless I want a full blast sensory experience of what you just described (or I rather stayed there than listening to all the gossips inside the carriage, which at times, gossips are more annoying than those rather predictable noises!).

Talking about full blast sensory experience, one of the things I love and hate about Mk3 carriages (the technical name of train carriages used for most loco-led train, including the HST in the UK) is the window on the doors. The fact that you have to put your hand (and sometimes half your body) over the door to push down the door handle outside the carriage to open the door means such window is necessary, and at times one would open the window to feel the breeze, or rather, the gale. Though that opened window itself is another source of noise intrusion from the exterior of the train, especially the bogie and the engine, the draught that is drawn in is sometimes so pleasing! That's why I both hate it and love it -- when I ever walk across the train from carriage to carriage (sometimes towards the kiosk, other times just walking around), I end up opening and closing the windows along. Now, that is a bit of sensory incoherence to you.

The compressed air controlled screen doors between the vestibule and the seating compartment are very interesting -- not just they have annoying hisses whenever they open and close, they are also hypersensitive. That means if you stand like 3 ft from the door it would open, which is good if you are moving along, but really bad if you wanted to just stand in the vestibule. Whenever I travelled on HST, I know my clumsiness in opening that coach door so I often move towards the door one stop before I alight. I certainly don't want to hear the opening and closing of doors while waiting to alight, it's not just the hissing of the piston, it is also the sudden plugging and unplugging of the door...

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