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Calling "Shotgun" might be the wrong word, since the driver's cab would be on top of the train, or absent altogether.

What are some examples of high-speed long-distance intercity trains that have passenger seats in the front of the train?

If available, the following information would also be useful.

  1. Is the driver cab sitting on top of the first carriage, or fully automated?
  2. Can the ticket be purchased only if the front passenger seat is available, and then subsequently blocked in the ticket holder's name?
  3. Does the train go above 100 mph?
  4. Is the scenery beautiful, or does the train go mostly in tunnels?
  5. Can we paste a photo from the front passenger seat in the answer?

End of question.


(Bad) example:

Although London's Docklands Light Railway does not meet the criteria of a high-speed intercity train, let's use it just for the sake of a (bad) example:

London's Docklands Light Railway

  1. The DLR is fully automated. Although a driver's console is concealed inside a locked panel just in case, as shown in the photo, all four front seats are almost always used by passengers.
  2. No, but you can easily get the front seat from a terminal station on weekends.
  3. No, around 50 mph.
  4. The view isn't great (see photo), and there is a fair amount of tunnel.
  5. Photo from the front passenger seat, courtesy Wikimedia.

enter image description here


There are several cities with automated metro trains like the DLR - But this question would only be for the truly high-speed long-distance intercity trains.

  • 5
    German ICE 3 have something like that. Somewhat will probably write an answer with more details but you can google it in the meantime. – Relaxed Dec 28 '15 at 20:12
  • 1
    @SumanKrishnaSaha, historical examples include the X3800 "Picasso" that was used from 1950 to 1988 in France. However, it definitely does not qualify for "high-speed" (top speed 120 km/h). It is still in use on a few heritage railway lines, some of which probably have quite picturesque views. – jcaron Dec 29 '15 at 12:00
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    ICE3 seat61.com/ice.htm#.VoJ7K_k77MQ, there is a picture of the view from behind the driver's cabin – DumbCoder Dec 29 '15 at 12:24
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    @SumanKrishnaSaha You might also be recalling the Romancecar services by the Odakyu Railway in Japan. It looks like they only operate at around 70 mph. – Jeff Bridgman Apr 14 '16 at 14:22
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    Disneyworld in Florida, USA, has a light monorail system, which is not fast, you cannot pre-book the front seats, is fully automated, but still kind of fun :p – CGCampbell Apr 15 '16 at 14:03
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The Romancecar services by the Odakyu Railway in Japan...

The line connects Shinjuku in Tokyo with various tourist areas towards Mt. Fuji to the southwest. The trains with passengers seats at the front of the train (only the type 7000 and 50000 trains are currently in operation) are primary used on train services to Hakone. The schedule identifies which type of train will be used. The trips take about 1h10m to 1h30m.

Over time, there have been several incarnations of this kind of train over time. Types 7000 and 50000 are the two on the right.

Odakyu types 3100, 7000, 10000, 50000 (From Wikimedia)

  1. The driver cab sits on top of the first carriage (only for certain trains - others operate besides those shown above)
  2. Seats can be reserved online here. I'm sure they can also be reserved locally at the ticket office, but you'd probably want to reserve in advance.
  3. The train does not exceed 100 mph. It looks like the maximum operating speed is around 70 mph.
  4. The line isn't full of tunnels, but it is also traveling through the suburbs of Tokyo... so not the most scenic. However, as you approach Hakone you do get into the foothills so there it's not entirely devoid of beautiful scenery.

A view from the inside of the type 50000 train:

View out the front of type 50000 train's passenger cabin (From Wikimedia)

12

This one definitely does not tick all the boxes, but as asked by the OP, here comes an historic example:

The SNCF X3800 "Picasso" (more details in french) was used from 1950 to 1988 in France.

However, it definitely does not qualify for "high-speed" (top speed 120 km/h). It is still in use on a few heritage railway lines (see french Wikipedia page linked above for details), some of which probably have quite picturesque views.

The driver is in a small elevated and off-centered cabin above the main cabin:

Source: Wikimedia

  • Doesn't appear to be in service any more, so doesn't really help the OP. – Mark Mayo Apr 15 '16 at 10:58
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    @MarkMayo, I initially posted it as a comment for this reason, but the OP asked for me to post it (see comments up there). Also, even though it's no longer in service with SNCF, there are quite a few that have been preserved and are in (more or less regular) use by heritage railways. The photo above is actually from such an heritage railway (Chemin de Fer du Haut Forez), though it's difficult to determine when it runs. Another one has an up-to-date calendar of planned runs (in red). – jcaron Apr 15 '16 at 12:41
11

Does not tick the first point, but here goes...

ICE T, ICE 3 and ICE 3M from Germany

ICE T (ICE T, Germany, Wikimedia)

View from behind the driver in an ICE T from Germany (View from behind the driver in an ICE T, Germany, Wikimedia)

  1. Is the driver cab sitting on top of the first carriage, or fully automated? Neither. The driver sits in front, with a transparent partition. The driver has a switch to make the glass panel opaque.
  2. Can the ticket be purchased only if the front passenger seat is available, and then subsequently blocked in the ticket holder's name? Tickets can always be purchased and do not come with an automatic seat reservation. Any ticket valid for the train entitles you to check if the seats are free. As per 2015, DB lets you choose your desired seat from a seat map of the cars by mouse click (provided the seat is free). Reservation costs an additional €4.50 (for the 2015/2016 timetable year). Note that each EMU/DMU comes with two such compartments: One is always first class, the other always second class.
  3. Does the train go above 100 mph? Yes.
  4. Is the scenery beautiful, or does the train go mostly in tunnels? European pastures - beautiful.
  5. Can we paste a photo from the front passenger seat in the answer? Done.
  • 1
    I believe this is common to the ICE 3 trains as well. Wikipedia says the Class 403 trains have the same lounge area with the glass panels, but I don't know for sure about the other models. – Zach Lipton May 2 '16 at 5:11
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    +1, an interesting option! Three small additions: (1) the driver has a switch to make the glass panel opaque (2) it's also the case for ICE 3 and ICE 3M trainsets (top speed 320 kph, close to 200 mph) and (3) IIRC, you can book a seat behind the cabin, but I am not sure you can make sure it's at the front of the train (you could also end up behind the other - unused - cabin, at the very end, indeed that's apparently what you can see on your picture). One of them is 1st class, the other 2nd class. – Relaxed May 2 '16 at 7:37
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    The current generation of ICE3(M) trains will typically take routes that include Cologne–Frankfurt (with the North end coming from Brussels, Amsterdam, the Ruhr area and the South end typically connecting to Munich or Zurich), and ICE T’s typically travel on non-high speed routes such as Munich–Berlin, Frankfurt–Dresden, Frankfurt–Vienna etc. – Jan Jun 3 '16 at 21:36
  • @Jan, while reserving, is it possible to know the direction of travel? The reason is that people would prefer the front carriage and not the last carriage. – Shumon Saha Jun 4 '16 at 18:10
  • 1
    @SumanKrishnaSaha Some relations (but not all!) have a mark on the seat map showing the direction of travel. Unfortunately, if you have a double MU, you can never be sure which one is leading, whether (e.g.) coach 21 or 31. And also the train can suddenly arrive in the other direction (happens fairly frequently). Note that I haven’t tried it with connections that go through a terminal station somewhere, so I don’t know how the system will show that. – Jan Jun 4 '16 at 18:13

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