In the UK, most long distance trains are laid out in a similar pattern. At one end is a standard class quiet coach, often with bike storage. Then it's standard class most of the way, and first class at the other end. Normally, coach A will be the standard class quiet coach at one end, and letters increasing to the other. Typically, the first class will be at the "London" end of the train, but not always, especially on cross country trains that don't go to London!
Unlike in some European countries, there is no display / poster on the platform saying where each coach will be. At some stations there will be boards up roughly where each coach will stop with a coach letter, or something similar painted on the floor or on roof supports. Almost always, the announcements will say things like "first class at the front of the train" or "standard class on the rear on arrival"
Twice in the last two days, I've turned up at the station, seen the announcement about which end of the train would be first class (and hence which end standard class), headed to the right place for that, then discovered when the train pulled in that it was the other way around! This meant running to the other end of an 8 coach train, while half the people trying to get on were doing the same thing, not fun...
That leads me to two related questions:
- How can a train end up the wrong way round?
- How can this come as a surprise, with all the automated and manual announcements saying it's one way around, then have it be the other when it appears?