I had reason to commute into London the other day. My local routes are served by three varieties of train, long distances are taken care of by rakes of coaches towed by electric locomotives, and fast commuter journeys are handled by recently-introduced Siemens electric multiple units. This leaves the high-density, multiple-stop schedule to be filled by the oldest of our rolling stock.
These trains, the 100mph Class 321 electric multiple units, were built from 1989 to 1992 and have been extremely successful, though they are now getting on a bit. Over their long careers they have seen various efforts at refurbishment, and some units are now being rebuilt with air-conditioning and better facilities. The example I travelled in on Tuesday night had obviously experienced a ‘refurbishment’ of sorts, and I was flabbergasted at the sheer magnificence of its ineptitude.
It got me to thinking about the few times I’ve witnessed cars that display shows of owner complacency of this magnitude.