The proposal - continued (1)
Rail seats - The design
Each rail seat incorporates a high back with a sturdy top rail that comes up to approximately the waist height of the spectator standing behind it. The top rail behind each seat links firmly into the next one right along the row, thus creating a continuous, robust barrier along its full length.
Despite being called seats, their primary function is that of a waist-high rail for the spectators standing behind them and for all domestic games the seats would remain folded up (if desired / permitted by the newly drafted regulations, the seats can be locked in this position). When folded up the seats lie flush between the uprights of the frame, thus making the whole railing just a few centimetres deep and freeing up the maximum amount of space between each row of rails for standing fans and ease of access and egress for stewards and paramedics.
Rail heights in Germany vary between 90 and 115cm.
Rail heights compliant with Green Guide
The minimum height required here by the Green Guide for barriers in traditional standing areas at rugby and lower league football grounds is 102cm.
There may be an argument to revise this downwards for rails in safe standing areas, as with a maximum of 2 rows of spectators between each rail, they will never be called upon to withstand the same forces as rails on ‘old-fashioned’ terracing.
Even without any such lowering of the required height, however, it can be seen from the heights in use in Germany (up to 115cm) that rail seats can comfortably comply with the current minimum 102cm height requirement (110cm for new builds).
Clear space for added safety
The images below show a rail seat folded up (potentially locked in that position), flush between the uprights and the clear space between each upright in single step configuration (i.e. one row of standing fans between each line of rail seats). The freedom of movement along such rows is significantly better for stewards and/or paradmedics than along rows of 'normal' seats, which project substantially into the free space and can also fall forward uncontrollably to cause an obstruction and trip hazard.