Notes from my commute 2

train handle

One thing that continues to puzzle me has to do with operating the doors on First Great Western trains to and from London Paddington. For reasons I have yet to fathom, doors can only be opened by lowering the window, putting your hand outside the train carriage and then cranking the handle. If only this could be explained away as a design flaw I would be happy, but the trains are fairly modern and otherwise pretty well designed.

I can see all sort of problems with this, primarily pertaining to how difficult it must be for disabled and elderly people to perform such acrobatic exercises upon leaving the train, as well as the safety hazard posed by having a window, through which you can easily throw three grown-ups simultaneously, open or openable (this word does not exist, I know) at all times. In fact, you can stick not only your head but your entire (upper) body out while the train is moving. In a country pathologically obsessed with compliance and safety, this is odd.

Does anyone know the reason behind this obscure design?

PS. I know my mobile phone takes pictures as grainy as corn flakes. Now that I have become a shallow corporate raider, I might invest in some new hardware.

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  1. I did in fact witness a guy hanging out of one of those windows on a train down to Cornwall, trying to get as much of the Dawlish sea air up his nostrils as he could. He is very lucky to still have his head attached as there are many cliff tunnels on that stretch of rail.

    What makes those doors even more bizarre is that they’re alternated with snazzy electronic ones.

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