Improving Turbostar trains: it’s what’s on the inside that counts

12 January 2023

“The only things I’m bothered about are power points and comfy clean seats, because everyone is looking at their phones or out of the window, and not the decor.” Commuter/occasional business travel

What would passengers change if anything? That’s what rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook asked independent watchdog Transport Focus to find out from a range of rail customers using their Turbostar fleets in the Midlands.

Passengers were generally positive about the trains, saying they felt modern and spacious. They therefore asked that any refurbishment build on what was already there when making any improvements.

We asked about seating, interior decor, flooring, lighting, ventilation, toilets, dedicated space for bikes, wheelchairs, buggies and luggage, information, security and charging points.

Anthony Smith, Transport Focus chief executive, said:

“We’re pleased to have worked with Porterbrook to better understand what passengers want from future trains.

“There is no better way to ensure the design meets their needs than to ask the users themselves.”

Covid has reset passenger expectations on cleaning and passengers would value an increased focus on hygiene. Respondents also said that any potential refurbishment plans should consider the cleanliness of seats, and the operation of toilet doors..

More control over lighting and ventilation is valued – potentially by having controls for these overhead. Passengers also want to be able to store luggage close to them and would like more space for this above seats.



Download report: Turbostar trains interiors: what passengers want.

For further information please contact: Misha MccGwire, senior communications officer, email:

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