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I hope to collect the following information:

  • name of operator / route
  • is there a USB charging socket / is there a 3-pin plug socket
  • at every seat / only at tables / not in standard class

So that for any given rail journey I take in the UK, I can answer the question: "What kind of charger and/or seat booking do I need?"

(Duplicate of this question: Which EU/UK train companies provide plug sockets, which are free, and on which services?, but seven years later)

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    I think that any list of this kind will be out of date within a short time, as companies will update their stock and include power sockets and USB as standard in new trains.
    – Willeke
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 20:09
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    @Willeke optimistic of you to think the UK is getting new trains - in my experience, the north has just been using Pacers for decades.
    – user25730
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 22:34
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    A given route/operator may have different types of rolling stock, as well as different versions of the same (i.e. before/after refurb), so for many routes the answer will probably be "it depends".
    – jcaron
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 8:55
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    @user25730, seeing the answers so far, train companies in the UK do update their trains, and sometimes they do have new trains.
    – Willeke
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 17:55
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    @user25730 - the last Northern Pacer was withdrawn in 2020, and the last ones were withdrawn nationally in Wales in 2021. The UK is getting lots of new trains. Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 22:03

4 Answers 4

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Realtime Trains* has information on-the-day about train allocations for many (not all) operators, along with whether or not said train has USB and/or power sockets. You can't, however, see this information in advance, as for many routes it's a case of "what gets allocated the night before" that decides it. I believe this will be the most accurate data you're likely to find, as this train allocation data isn't generally available elsewhere online.

* Conflict of interest statement: I'm friends with the guy who makes this, but fully believe I'd be recommending it anyway even if I weren't.

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My perspective as a Mancunian.

  • Northern - The new-ish class 195 and 331 have 13A sockets but not USB chargers. Some of the older fleet has been retrofitted with USB chargers but many still don't have charging points at all. Exactly what trains turn up on a particular route is often a crap-shoot.
  • TFW - New class 197 trains have both USB and 13A at every seat. I think the same is true of the refurbished trains but I'm not sure.
  • Avanti - The situation has dramatically improved recently, the pendolinos used to have a paucity of sockets in standard class but this seems to have been fixed in the recent refurb with both USB and 13A sockets at every seat. I'm not sure what the situation is with the voyagers. They had a 13A socket per pair of seats from new, but I'm not sure if USB was ever added.
  • EMR regional, the 158s have USB but not 13A sockets. I'm not sure about the recently acquired turbostars.
  • Crosscountry - The voyagers were originally built with a 13A socket per pair of seats,
  • TPE - I think all trains now have both USB and 13A sockets, but I'm not 100% positive.

Edit, seems I was mistaken, I was on a crosscountry voyager yesterday and the sockets did not have USB.

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GWR's fairly new 80x class IETs (on mainline routes) have mains sockets under the seats in standard class.

Their castle class (slightly modernised intercity 125s, mostly running from south Wales to Devon and Cornwall) have some mains sockets, but they're often not working.

I've only travelled in standard class, but it's fair to assume first class has the same or better.

On their local routes, it's a mixture, as is the rolling stock. Some have mains sockets, more have USB, and some have none at all. When present they're not necessarily at every seat.

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My own findings, as I collect them:

  • C2C do not have any power sockets or USB charging [on some/all trains, as yet unclear]
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  • It is interesting to mention c2c given the comments to the question, as the new Class 720 trains, due to enter service from Sep 2023, do feature plug and USB sockets. You are right that the existing Class 357, which continue to form the majority of the c2c fleet, won't have sockets for little while.
    – B.Liu
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 22:22

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