Well, the good news is we’ve got our replacement benches now, which was even better news given that SouthWest Trains decided to cancel my morning train so I had a whole 20 minutes to sit in them and assess their comfort and range of new features. No sign of any ivory or whaleskin cushions, so I’m hoping they weren’t the £30,000 ones. Nor do they have heated seats which is a shame because the bad news is that our waiting room is still being used as a builders’dumping ground and is firmly out of bounds to us poor old commuters.
Anyway, twenty minutes of thorough testing later I can report that they are about as comfortable as cold metal benches can be expected to be and that they have arms. Other than that, I can see no discernible improvement. Still – possibly in an effort to prove that they haven’t spent all of their money on pointlessly replacing our benches – SWT did at least give us an 8 car Weybridge train this morning instead of the usual 4 car sardine special we normally get when the Hounslow train is cancelled. Must be an excess of Christmas spirit. Here’s hoping it lasts.