These are my personal thoughts on some of the trains used in the UK on the National Rail network. These are from the perspective of an able-bodied person who happens to be 6'2" (so if I'm not complaining about the height or legroom or something, it's probably adequate).
Class 68/Mk.3 Set (Chiltern Railways)
- Shockingly roomy passenger saloon - it really shows how much space certain multiple-unit classes lose to equiptment and machinery (or shrodinger's tilt - lookin' at you 220s)
- Very comfortable but very dated interior
- The class 68 is shocklingly loud but the ride (at least nearer the DVT end of the train) is exceptionally smooth and not at all noisy
- Some of the old Mk.3 coaches are weirdly squeaky though
Class 139 Parry People Mover (West Midlands Railway/Pre-Metro)
- A bizzare little contraption
- The flywheel drive means sometimes you hear the engine spin up randomly while the thing is parked at a station
- Unexpectedly jerky ride and lots of beeping from the driving cab
- Was rather novel to see that there were no proper cab doors - though I don't suppose there'd be any reason to have them.
- The three minutes I spent on board generated no further comments
Class 158 Express Sprinter (Transport for Wales)
- Comfortable! Good seats and a relatively spacious cabin
- Lots of engine noise and some vibration inside
- Head-hittingly low vestibules
Class 170 Turbostar (CrossCountry)
- Good seats!
- Can get very, very overcrowded (who on earth thought it was a good idea to put a single 2-car on Cardiff to Nottingham)
- Amusingly large amounts of vibration on acceleration when they kick into top gear
- Relatively quiet inside the cabin
Class 172 Turbostar (West Midlands Railway)
- Trim and proper trains
- Note that this doesn't apply to the unrefurbished ex-Chiltern /1 sets - they suck.
- Decently well refurbished, brighter and less cramped feeling than similar CrossCountry trains
- Pretty quiet cabin
- Often run in pairs of two-car sets where one has end gangways and one doesn't, which is deeply deeply cursed
Class 196 Civity (West Midlands Railway)
- Exceptionally striking and modern looks with a very well-suited livery
- Is whisper quiet inside the cabin, and not exactly very noisy outside
- Squeaky brakes
- Has the typical rough CAF ride quality
- Seats are ergonomic but very hard and noticeably close together
- Shockingly good PA system though
Class 220 Voyager (CrossCountry)
- Both good and not so good
- Very comfortable seats, though legroom could be a squeak better
- Have a good ride and sound nice
- The profile designed to allow tilting operation makes them feel cramped and they have a tendency to overcrowd because of their route allocations
- The crampiness tends to be worse when travelling on them at night because of the way the lighting is inside
- They make the platforms at New Street unpleasant to wait on with their fumes ._.
- I hit my head on the vestibule ceilings
Class 221 Super Voyager (CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast)
- Functionally very similar (if not identical) to the 220s
- @avanti thank you for having proper bike storage areas
Class 222 Meridian (East Midlands Railway)
- Run down and generally not very clean
- Better than the 220/221 sets but still not incredible
Class 323 (West Midlands Railway)
- These sound phenomenal
- Old, and not exceptionally comfortable
- The PA speakers are entertainingly crusty sounding and the conductor's announcements are garbled beyond recognition 80% of the time
- Cabin is drab
- Their replacement with 730s is well due but will be sad to see them go
- I once got an excited high-five from someone after telling them that the 323s would soon be replaced
Class 323 (Northern)
- Old, still not exceptional comfortable BUT far better maintained than the WMR ones
- These ones actually have good, white (not yellow) lighting that makes the cabin feel much nicer
- USB chargers and nice modern PIS LCD displays on the end of every car are well appreciated.
Class 350 Desiro (London Northwestern Railway)
- Some of the better trains on the network - quiet, reliable, spacious.
- Generally pretty comfortable (provided you don't get a 350/2)
- The notable exception to this is that the 350/2 has more comfortable first-class seats than the other subclasses. Which was unexpected.
- Refurbished units are typically in good nick and are plenty comfortable for the services they operate
- Some proper bike spaces are very much desperately needed
Class 360 Desiro (East Midlands Railway)
- Less decent trains - pretty much just a worse version of the class 350
- The 3+2 seating needs to go, and fast please
- The seats are also worn out and uncomfortable
- Despite often working in pairs, there are no end gangways fitted
- Looks very swish in EMR colours
Class 390 Pendolino (Avanti West Coast)
- It's fast!
- Very smooth ride except for when it inexplicably judders forwards and back, which is somewhat frequently
- The tilt works and is very, very novel when you first experience it
- While the seats are very solid, they're also very comfortable - though you can see why they're gradually refurbishing these
- Turns out the seats on the refurbed ones are HARD and far less comfortable. Well done Avanti.
- The doors take a comically long time to open and close
Class 700 Desiro City (Thameslink)
- Inside these units are moden, bright and airy and generally quite pleasant to be inside of
- Exterior looks are pretty nice
- Self-driving in the Thameslink core section, which is very cool
- The ironing boards seats suck though
Class 730 Aventra (West Midlands Railway)
I was able to ride the inaugural 730 service in the West Midlands on 2024-02-12 - the 2241 from Birmingham New Street to Wolverhampton aboard 730018! It had a very potent new-train smell to it - I'm decently confident it was the first passenger service that unit had seen. The photo you see for this train is my own, from that journey.
- Quiet, smooth, sleek, airy and modern - overally very, very nice trains
- The cab-ends painted in the slightly peachier orange than the rest of the train are a notably pretty touch
- These are definitely trains that are better sutied to the Cross City line than the 323s, and they're generally nicer places to be.
- They have proper bike spaces, wider areas around the doors to help with crowding during peak times, walk-through carriages and crisp PIS displays
- Table seats on the Cross City line is going to be very peculiar - hell, seeing these on the Cross City line full-stop is going to be weird
- I do get the feeling that the door buttons are in a slightly annoying place on the inside, but time will tell on this front
Class 745 FLiRT (Greater Anglia)
- I like these trains
The interior ambiance is really well done - the colour scheme and lighting come together to create a really pleasant and comfortable atomsphere.
- The whisper quiet and exceptionally smooth ride helps with this too
- There's plenty of luggage space (which is good, because these run the Stansted Express et al)
- I adore the level boarding system, plus the funky Jacobs bogies are fun
- Large, clear and crisp passenger information displays
- The same supportive seating as the WMR 196s, except with armrests, seatback tables and a better pitch
- Also has good looks outside