European train seat number pattern

Jan 3rd, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #1  
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European train seat number pattern

Just came back from Italy, and was on several fast trains (ES* and Cisalpino). What I found it odd, and what I haven't read it explained, is the seat number pattern on these trains.

In the 2nd class section where you have 4 seats facing one another on each side, the seat numbers can be something like this:

21 23 27 25
22 28 24 26

I just wonder what's the rationale for this pattern, other than to confuse the American visitors?
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 10:15 AM
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Well, fodors took out my spaces, so let me draw this once again:

w 21 23 a 27 25 w
w 22 28 a 24 26 w

w = window
a = aisle
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 10:18 AM
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No, no, it's not an anti-American plot! It's simply another exercise of the inventive Italian imagination. It would be just too, too boring if the numbering were logical...

Frankly, it doesn't bother me on a train, but when they number the houses on the streets in a similarly fanciful manner - which they most often do - it drives me nuts!
Eloise is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 10:50 AM
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The system is quite common in many parts of Europe. Odd numbers face one way and even numbers the other. Offhand, I'd say this has always been the system used whenever I've had a reserved seat - though I rarely do and I wouldn't care, without several hours' heavy googling, to swear on it.

It's illogical only if you assume the way planes number seats is the only logic. But planes make up a very small part of how the world's population travels between cities.

Trains number seats the way they do because - well, that's how you number seats.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 11:00 AM
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flanneruk -

I've been on certain UK trains a few years back, including Virgin on the WCML and GNER on the ECML. And I don't think the seat number system is the same.

I mean, yes, it's logical to have odd numbers facing one way and even ones the other, but wouldn't it make more sense to have:

w 21 23 a 25 27 w
w 22 24 a 26 28 w

But look at the actual seat pattern I draw in my original post. How you do explain to people that 22 and 28 are seats that are side-by-side, or that 23 and 28 faces each other?

When I first got my tickets, we had 21, 23, 28; and I thought the 28 was somewhere else. And then on another trip, we got the equivalent of 23, 24, 25.

If they use this type of seat assignment on planes, then I am sure the loading time will even be longer than it is right now.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 11:51 AM
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This is such a timely post. I was just on the trenitalia website and will be purchasing tickets soon (once I'm within 60 day period) but wasn't sure how to pick coach or seat numbers. Any advice? I plan to purchase two 1st class tickets. Do I just pick coach 1 (or whatever is available?). Do I just pick seats 1 and 3, for example, if I want to be sure they're next to each other?
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 12:10 PM
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LouisaH:

You only have to pick your seats on the diagram that comes up - i.e., window or aisle and facing which way (even if you do not know the direction of the train).

The question about coach and seat number is ONLY for someone who wants to sit with another person who has already booked online and reserved a seat. Ignore the question.
Eloise is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 12:39 PM
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Thank you, Eloise. I knew I was making it more complicated than it needed to be!
LouisaH is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 06:48 PM
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I found some seating plans for the German ICEs. They make more sense as they are like this:

w 21 23 a 27 25 w
w 22 24 a 28 26 w

Anyways, still waiting for someone to explain the ES* and Cisalpino logic to me.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 09:24 PM
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rkkwan, you wouldn't even find many Italains that could explain the logic of a lot of things in Italy. That is why they need a months vacation, lots of holidays off and many hours at cafes sipping their espresso or wine. And I am not kidding #-o
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2006, 09:25 PM
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Uhm, make that Italians. Wish Fodor's had an edit feature.
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 11:59 PM
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I'm not used to the seating plans rkkwan gave (actually I've never seen ones like that even when I took Cisalpino Venice-Geneva). The trains I take often are Swiss and French and e.g. TGV seating in 2nd cls is basically as follows, for seats both facing each other or not.

a b c d
W 21 22 A 23 24 W
W 25 26 A 27 28 W
W 31 32 A 33 34 W
W 35 36 A 37 38 W

There is no numbers ending with 9 or 0. This way, line "a" is always with the numbers ending with 1 or 5. Does this seating plan make better sense to you?
kappa is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 12:02 AM
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Sorry I messed up.

a should be above 21
b " above 22
c " above 23
d " above 24
kappa is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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kappa - Thanks. I have not taken the TGV, but I'm starting to think that the seat numbers are indeed different among countries.

As for the Cisalpino seating plan, I just rechecked my ticket, and I'm positive that it's just like the ES*, as I described in the original post. We had "posti 16, 15 finestrino 14 corridoio". The train is the 154 Milan to Sttugart, though we only took it to Como.

A Japanese family of 4 was also on that train, and they were at a lost, as they have seats 11, 12, 17, 18, thinking they have 2 + 2 seats somewhere. Instead, three of them were one side (11, 12, 18), while one sits with us facing me (17). [No seat 13 at the end of the train.]

I believe you're also right that there are no "0" and "9" seats. Each group of 8 starts from 1 fresh.
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