Backwards on European trains?

Mar 29th, 2000, 04:15 AM
Posts: n/a
Backwards on European trains?

Hello, friends,

Much as I love train travel, particularly in Europe, the one thing that can de-rail me (sorry) is when I find myself assigned to a seat facing the back of the train. I can get seriously dizzy in that situation, which is a real problem. Has anyone any idea if there's a way to request and/or be sure to get a seat facing forward when there's reserved seating?

Just asking someone to switch seats with me is not usually an option, since it's obvious (when it's unreserved seating) I'm not the only one who prefers not to sit backwards, and my language skills are never up to explaining my problem in anything other than English. I once asked someone the customer-service part of the Barcelona station for help with seating in a train I was about to board and his response was to rifle through some papers and then shrug.
Mar 29th, 2000, 05:48 AM
al godon
Posts: n/a
Your problem is real. It is a form of motion sickness. Given the language problem, I am not sure what to suggest.
Hopefully you can find a forward-facing seat.
Perhaps one of the motion sickness drugs will help, but I don't like to take them if I don't need them. And if I need one, taking it as the train leaves the station is no answer because the drug does not take effect for about 40 minutes.
Mar 29th, 2000, 07:05 AM
Posts: n/a
I don't know if the railway companies could figure this out because I would imagine that hooking up the cars is random, so seat #24 might face forward or backward depending upon which way the railyard crew attaches the car; then you have the situation where trains head INTO a station en route (seat #24 faces forward) but then it 'backs out' of the station for the rest of the trip and seat #24 now faces backward for the rest of the journey.

My suggestions are: book reservations on a less-traveled train and hope there are empty seats if the reserved seat faces the wrong way; book first class since those cars are often not so packed (and the onboard staff might be more accommodating); travel with a companion who doesn't care which direction s/he sits and reserve seats facing each other; worse comes to worst, head for the end of the car where there are jumpseats and room to stand (or sit on your suitcase).

Or, just puke in the aisle, which ought to make somebody get up real fast and give you the forward facing seat.
Mar 29th, 2000, 01:18 PM
Posts: n/a
I feel your pain. I too suffer from motion sickness. As I have gotten older the worse it seems to get. Regarding the seating on the train, I can't help at all, but I can recommend something. I hate to take motion sickness drugs, but I found the acupressure wristbands to help. The press on points on the wrist. I don't know if they work for everyone, but they work most of the time for me. You can find them at a lot of different travel type stores, like Travel 2000. Good luck.

Mar 29th, 2000, 04:03 PM
Posts: n/a
[Wow, has this forum been quirky lately -- third time I've tried to post]

Ah, Elvira -- knew I could count on you!

Actually drugs make certain kinds of problems worse (not to get technical, but my visual cues have to link up well with motor cues, etc. etc., and drugs mess up perception if they make you drowsy) and I've never found the pressure bracelets anything other than a pitiful fashion statement -- glad they work for somebody.

The opposite-seat thing works, thanks to my willing, long-suffering husband BUT the problem is how to enter that kind of request when you make a seat reservation. That's really my question, because I've never seen anywhere to indicate preferences in seating, never had a travel agent who thought she/he could make that kind of request, and didn't even get any help with station personnel in Spain the one time I actually asked. Answer = shuffle paper and shrug.

So, has anyone ever been able to CHOOSE a seat or make a formal request?
Mar 29th, 2000, 06:56 PM
Bob Brown
Posts: n/a
Could you not have someone with skills in Spanish write a brief letter that explains the problem and what you need?
Perhaps have a second one in French?
That might help. Sort of a motion sickness related phrase book.
I never believed motion sickness until I got on a carnival ride once that did me in. One of those whirly bird things.
Mar 29th, 2000, 10:09 PM
Posts: n/a
This is true that railways cannot guarantee that you'll have a seat in the right direction. So the latter suggestion to have a paper written in Spanish, French, etc... kindly requesting to exchange seats is the best one. It should not be a problem.
Mar 30th, 2000, 01:44 AM
Posts: n/a
As is mentioned above, when you have a "cul-de sac" train station as opposed to a pass-through train station, the train HAS to change directions, which means that all the seats will then face the opposite way they came in.
The little leaflets on board tell you when you get to a station where the train will "turn-around" (bigger towns usually), so maybe you can plan accordingly and start looking for a new seat if you know that yours will be facing the wrong way after the next stop.

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