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First Hull Trains to trial USB charging

First Hull Trains has become one of the first train operators in the UK to launch a trial of integrated USB charging points on-board its carriages, with ambitions to roll it out across the entire fleet. 

The open access operator is trialling the chargers, developed by TBM Rail Group, in one of its first-class carriages. 

If the USB chargers prove popular, the operator says it aims to roll-out the devices across its entire 20-carriage fleet. 

Will Dunnett, Hull Trains managing director, said: “Our focus at Hull Trains is on exceeding passengers’ expectations and innovation is a key part of this.

USB 1 “Being an open access operator means that we can be more innovative or perhaps quicker to market with an idea. Anything that improves rail travel for our passengers and makes their journey experience an exceptional one is something that we’re always eager to explore.” 

The new TBM charger, unveiled in July this year, is a 1.2 amp USB port connected to a traditional 13 amp plug point that allows commuters to charge laptops, mobile phones, tablets, as well as music and gaming devices, without having to carry a bulky three-pin plug. 

Neil Smith, sales director at TBM Rail Group, said: “Commuting is actually an extension of the working day for many people.  This is a simple idea that makes life easy for the travelling public.” 

Earlier this year, First Hull became the first operator to trial the first on-board Passenger Information System (PIS) to use National Rail Enquiries’ Darwin system to provide a full suite of ATOC-approved real-time journey information. 

Additionally, the company, which is leading the industry for passenger satisfaction, scoring 96% in the 2015 NRPS, announced that it has invested £68m in a fleet of five new bi-mode trains from Hitachi, which are expected to enter service in 2020.

First Great Western does have USB ports installed on its HST refurbishments. However, these are separate ports being built into the panel next to the table whereas First Hull Trains is the first to have a USB port incorporated into the 3-pin charging socket on board.


PMD   15/09/2015 at 11:38

FGW has had USB chargers for ages. FHT is not the first!

Peter Allan   15/09/2015 at 11:50

I'm sure I saw this feature on a FGW High Speed Train in 1st class earlier this year!

RTM   15/09/2015 at 11:56

Thanks for the info - will investigate and update

Jak Jaye   15/09/2015 at 12:47

Wow a whole 4 trains!

Ian Dyer   15/09/2015 at 12:55

I presume that the USB charger points are only fitted to the mains outlet sockets that are fed by a "clean" mains supply, or do these sockets include circuitry to suppress voltage spikes, transients etc.

100Andthirty   15/09/2015 at 15:45

I really think this is scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of news. An USB socket integrated into a 13 A! And why would an open access operator be able to introduce them quicker than anyone else? Is it implied that a franchise TOC would need DfT permission?

J Perrett   15/09/2015 at 18:04

I've been using USB sockets for some months on FGW HST's. Abiet in First Class. They are only available on the refurbished coaches carried out this year.

Neil Palmer   15/09/2015 at 19:15

100Andthirty, DfT permission, approval from all the local councils that the train passes through, European Parliament approval, then a 6 month petitioning process for anyone to raise objections in case 13 bats in a tunnel somewhere are inconvenienced or someone in Shanklin complains it's unfair and socially unacceptable that a train running from London to Hull should have USB charging points before the 1938 tube stock on the Isle of Wight.

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