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The first submision is from a train guard who wants to explain why there's frequent air conditioning failures.
So I'd like to dispel a myth brought about by Twitter "see the guard/train manager about the coach temperature".
We don't have any thermostat that we can turn up or down or anything like that... we did have one switch to heat or cool (But wouldn't cool further if it was already on cool) but now that has been taken away from us because of a remote access by our maintenance department. If it's overheating there is no way we can change that, sorry (except for a phone call to maintenance but only if they can link to it and only if it's not actually broken)
To give you some background on air con, the companies that made the units are no longer in business. GNER knew this would be an issue, so created an "air con service centre" at our maintenance depot for MK4 electric trains. National Express, when they were failing, sold this off, like any other assets they could.
East Coast also realised the issue and went to current air con companies and asked if they could make us new units to their specs, the sheer cost unfortunately put them off (it was vast) and we find ourselves in the current state of reconditioning/maintaining them (though they did bring this to the depot rather than it going on the back of a lorry up the motorway) there is also a problem of there only being two "Roads" at our depot where these units can be taken out (because of space, their sheer size and needing a fork lift to do so) and that a train set can sometimes not get to its depot overnight, for many reason and sometimes won't for a couple of days.
There is also the issue of doing maintenance or an exam (train MOT) first that will ensure the set can keep moving and what's considered as non-essential to the movement will unfortunately be done second to this. Plus to add to that if you look in a NRCOT or the Passengers Charter you will find no mention of air con, unlike getting you to your destination safely or all the other rules we have to abide to as a train company or you as a passenger. It's not a thing the company has to provide or will compensate you for either because of that!
We as staff dread this next four months and as our friend here has mentioned the #cateringlottery we also now have the #air-conlottery. It's diabolical to deal with, for us and diabolical for you to travel in. We sympathise with you and do all we can, there are small initiatives to help but most of the time they are ineffectual or don't get carried on for long. We have a water supply and will try and move you when we can and some of us have, at times, refused to take trains out if they're too bad, we are doing this for your benefit.
There is also a myth that holding or isolating vestibule doors open on the electric trains will help, it makes it worse. There is no air flow or conditioning in the vestibule, so the air con unit has to try work harder to compensate and if it had a chance of managing, that is now gone. Then if the door to the next coach is open too that unit has to work harder to cool both coaches and yes that's right, that one then fails too! I have personally worked trains that have left their starting point packed out and so vestibule doors open, with only one coach over heating and then that becomes 4 or 5 coaches over heating and is an even worse situation for all involved.
We as staff do try to apply pressure for this situation to be resolved but know that you the passenger have more sway with your complaints so I can only urge you all to write or email in to complain when you experience an over heating coach (tweets don't go into any stats) and one day it possibly may be resolved.
Oh and the air con units are only set to an ambient temp of 29° so if it's a very hot day they will start to fail whatever we all do... slightly short sighted!!