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如何打造“更高标准”的火车卫生间

更新时间:2018-11-2 21:05:28 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How to build a better train toilet
如何打造“更高标准”的火车卫生间

Fresh from the factory, Britain’s latest hi-tech train glints under the powerful lights of the depot. With its aerodynamic nose-cone and sleek racing-green carriages, the machine stretches into the far distance.

即将出厂的英国最新高科技火车在射灯下闪闪发光,流线型鼻锥车头,车厢也喷上了时尚的赛车绿色,放眼望去,车身延伸至远方。

“This is a very different train to the 40-year old trains it’s replacing,” says Sam Fisk from manufacturer Hitachi, and our guide to the North Star depot near London’s Paddington Station. “We’ve imported technology from Japan and our design centre has made sure the train is shaped so it cuts through the air.”

制造商日立公司的菲斯克(Sam Fisk)带领我们前往伦敦帕丁顿车站附近的北极星车厂(North Star depot),他告诉我们:“这辆火车与即将被淘汰的有40年历史的旧火车截然不同,我们从日本引进了技术,同时我们的设计中心也确保火车的外形能够减少空气阻力。”

Some 200 of these Class 800 hybrid units – capable of running on both overhead power and diesel – will eventually replace Britain’s 40-year-old High Speed Trains. They recently made their debut on the line between London and the west of England and will soon be rolled out on the East Coast Main Line to Scotland. That line is a route made famous by world record-breaking steam engines such as the Flying Scotsman and 126 mile-an-hour Mallard.

这些800级(Class 800)的混合动力列车中,大约只有200辆可使用电力和柴油机作为混合动力,将最终取代英国有40年历史的高速列车。它们最近在伦敦至英格兰西部的铁路线上首次亮相,很快也将行驶在通向苏格兰的东海岸干线上。这条铁路线曾因蒸汽机车闻名世界,如“苏格兰飞人”和时速126英里的“野鸭号”。

Inside, the train has that new car smell with unblemished rows of spotless seating. At the front is a futuristic cab with computer screens and arrays of switches, looking like it was transplanted from a Space Shuttle cockpit.

走进火车内部,一股新车的味道扑面而来,映入眼帘的是一排排一尘不染的座位。最前面是一个充满未来感的驾驶室,配有电脑屏幕和开关阵列,看起来就像把航天飞机驾驶舱搬过来了。

“It’s a digital train,” says Fisk. “Drivers came in to test the design, so it’s single comfortable seat at the centre and even has a handy cup holder.”

菲斯克说:“这是一辆数控火车。我们请火车司机参与了测试,所以驾驶座设计成了一个位于正中间的单独的舒适座椅,甚至还设计了一个方便的杯架。”

That’s all very well, but where you have drinks you eventually need toilets. What are they like?

目前看起来所有设计都非常好,但是既然要喝东西,那肯定是需要卫生间的。那卫生间又是什么样子呢?

Since the end of the 19th Century – and in the US even earlier – most long-distance trains have been fitted with toilets. They’re a necessity for any long-distance journey but most passengers do their best to avoid them.

自19世纪末,在美国甚至更早,大多数长途列车都配有卫生间。卫生间是任何长途旅行的必备设施,但大多数乘客都尽力避免使用卫生间。

“There’s been terrible toilet design,” says railway author and historian Christian Wolmar, who’s travelled the world by rail. “They range from the very basic on Indian railways – where’s it’s not much more than a hole in the floor – to modern toilets, which have the dodgy trick of the door opening by itself.”

曾经搭火车环游世界的铁路作家和历史学家沃尔玛(Christian Wolmar)说:“火车卫生间的设计非常糟糕,不论是印度火车那样最基本地在地板上掏一个洞,还是厕门会自动打开的现代化卫生间。”

Ah, yes… the self-opening toilet door. Anyone who has ever used a British train toilet has almost certainly experienced the excruciating horror and embarrassment of the automatic door slowly rolling open for fellow passengers.

没错,上卫生间时自动门突然打开,被其他乘客目睹,曾经使用过英国火车卫生间的乘客几乎肯定都经历过这样的惊恐和尴尬。

The problem is down to the design of the buttons, and complicated instructions (in English only), requiring users to press one button to close the door and then another to lock it. To make things even more confusing, the switches are often back to front.

问题在于按钮的设计和复杂的指令(仅限英文),乘客需要按其中一个按钮关门,然后再按另一个按钮锁门。更添乱的是,开关顺序都是从后往前的。

But this isn’t the only issue with train toilet design…

而且火车卫生间糟糕的设计还不止于此……

“They tend to have a completely unfathomable system for the sink – the water comes out, air comes out and soap comes out all from different bits hidden under a shelf,” says Wolmar. “Inevitably you turn on the hot air before the water - I can’t understand why the design is so difficult and complicated.”

沃尔玛说:“他们设计了一个不可思议的水槽系统——水、烘手机、洗手液都隐藏在架子下面的不同部位,你想洗手的时候却无法避免地触动了烘手机热风。我无法理解为什么会有如此困难和复杂的设计。”

It’s issues like this that the designers of the new high-speed trains were told to address. With the trains commissioned almost 10 years ago, they’ve had plenty of time to get it right.

收到反馈,这款新型高速列车的设计者需要解决这些问题。所幸早在10年前,列车就已经开始设计调试,设计者们有足够的时间来解决这些问题。

“The government set the specifications and one of the feedbacks was that the standard of the toilets had to be raised from the earlier fleets,” says Fisk. “We built a wooden mock-up of the whole train and have had more than 200 groups of passengers on board to give us feedback – then we went to the factory and built the real trains based on what they said.”

菲斯克说:“政府制定了规范,其中一个反馈意见是卫生间的标准必须比早期列车的标准更高。我们搭建了一个整列火车的木制模型,邀请 200多名乘客给我们提供反馈。然后我们带着这些意见回到工厂,建造了真正的火车。”

So, did the people get what they asked for? BBC Future decided to put this “better” train toilet to the test.

那么,乘客们的愿望实现了吗?英国广播公司决定对这个“更好”的火车卫生间进行测试。

Each train has five toilets on board – three are similar in size to aircraft toilets and two are designed to fit a wheelchair and include a fold-down baby changing bench. We chose to investigate one of those.

每列火车上有五个卫生间 ,其中三个与飞机上的大小类似,另外两个更大,以满足轮椅乘客的需求,并安装了一个可折叠的婴儿尿布台。我们选择调查五个卫生间中的一个。

First impressions are good - the toilet is spacious, clean and well-lit, with grey and cream walls. It even has inset wooden panels and two coat hooks.

第一印象不错,宽敞、干净、光线充足,有灰色和乳白色相间的墙壁,还安装了木制托盘和两个衣帽钩。

“We made sure that we had wheelchair users come in here, you can turn a wheelchair, we also had people with guide dogs and people with babies,” says Fisk. “It’s really important that the spaces and angles are right.”

菲斯克说:“我们的设计让坐轮椅的乘客进来后,可以转动轮椅,我们也满足带导盲犬和带婴儿的乘客的需求。确保空间和角度都是正确的,这点至关重要。”

So, onto test one: locking the door.

那么,让我们进行第一个测试——锁门。

“Being able to lock the door was the number one feedback,” says Fisk. “We’ve made sure the locking system is a lever and you have to push that lever to the right.”

菲斯克说:“排名第一的反馈是能锁门,我们设计的上锁系统是一个控制杆,乘客锁门时必须将控制杆向右推。”

A red sign lights up and a woman announces from a hidden speaker that “The door is locked.”

紧接着一个红色标志亮起,语音系统同时播报 “门被锁上了”。

So far, so good.

到目前为止看起来还挺好。

Next, the toilet itself. All seems to be in order – there’s toilet paper within easy reach and the bowl flushes with considerable power. So forceful in fact that rumour has it Nasa was inspired by bullet train toilet design for the International Space Station.

然后就是卫生间本身。一切看起来都井井有条,卫生纸容易抽取,便盆冲刷力道也足够大。事实上,有传言说,美国宇航局国际空间站都有受到子弹列车卫生间设计的启发。

Toilet waste goes into a tank under the train. Like many others around the world, some older trains in the UK still dump waste directly onto the tracks. “Do not flush in the station” signs are, apparently, largely ignored.

卫生间垃圾集中到火车底部的一个水箱。像许多世界上其他国家一样,英国的一些旧火车还是直接将垃圾倾倒在轨道上。“不要在列车进站后冲马桶”的标识显然不起作用。

Finally, the basin - a pushbutton arrangement that might not entirely please Wolmar but seems to function well enough.

最后是洗手池,沃尔玛对按钮的位置不是很满意,但用起来倒也还可以。

This new train toilet is hardly revolutionary but it goes a long way to addressing flaws in train toilet design. “We tried to simulate a hotel toilet – it’s nice, it’s bright,” says Fisk, “we wanted to bring a nice feel to the place.”

这种新的火车卫生间几乎不可能有什么根本性的改变,但在解决火车卫生间设计缺陷方面还是有很大的进步。菲斯克说:“我们试图模拟酒店的卫生间——要够好够亮,我们希望给使用卫生间的乘客一种很好的感觉。”

Out on the mainline, the new Hitachi trains have had a number of teething problems. Passengers report hard seating, leaking air conditioning and issues with onboard catering and timekeeping. One train recently broke down completely, leaving hundreds stranded for six hours.

回归到火车本身,这款新型日立列车出现了一些问题。乘客反映了座椅太硬,空调漏水,在餐车供应和准点等方面也有问题,甚至最近有一列火车中途抛锚,导致数百名乘客在火车上滞留六个小时。

Still, at least the toilets are well designed.

不过,至少卫生间设计得很好。

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