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NS Consortium Bilevels

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NS Consortium Bilevels
Posted by Buslist on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 12:01 PM

"Informed sources" (several levels above rumor mill) indicate that the consortium is in the process of terminating the contract with NS (bout time). If they can get an extension on the funding they will rebid the project but for single level cars ( the states are leery of higher personal injury costs reported by CA for falls on the steps). We'll see how this all plays out.

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Posted by conrailman on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 7:09 PM

Who is getting Bilevels NS Railroad?? What does NS Railroad want Bilevels cars for??

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Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 7:25 PM

He must mean Nippon-Sharyo (N-S).

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 7:51 PM

Thanks, Schlimm; I, too, was puzzled by the reference to "NS bi-levels."

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:30 PM

Didn't Nippon Sharyro close it's Rochelle plant and lay off about 100 workers in 2015 after the prototype failed an 800,000 pound crash test?

How can they make up for lost time? The company is already two years behind schedule.

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Posted by Buslist on Thursday, May 18, 2017 8:48 PM

ATSFGuy

Didn't Nippon Sharyro close it's Rochelle plant and lay off about 100 workers in 2015 after the prototype failed an 800,000 pound crash test?

How can they make up for lost time? The company is already two years behind schedule.

 

no they didn't close it. They are building gallery cars for VRE and METRA.

And no they can't make up for lost time hence the termination of the contract.

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Posted by GERALD L MCFARLANE JR on Thursday, May 18, 2017 10:15 PM

Until there's official word on termination of the contract it remains in place, if I where the consortium I'd turn to Siemens and see what they could do, since they already learned how to weld stainless steel successfully for single level equipment.  As for going with single level vs bi-level because of increased claims costs due to stairway injuries, I would put the fault on those injuries squarely on the passenger, therefore it would personal negligence and not have anything to do with the equipment.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, May 19, 2017 3:02 AM

There has to be a real concern here.  N-S appears dead but trying to use single level cars poses many problems.  The 800 pound bear is level boarding.  The freight RRs cannot have level platforms on their main lines due to plate "H" clearance requirements.  Building Guantlet tracks or station tracks at high level plaforms very expensive.

Siemens "brightline type" cars do not have traps and the engineering designs might be expensive and will they pass the squeeze test  ?

CAF ?  Only if Siemens takes over the NY plant.

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Friday, May 19, 2017 5:17 AM

Without access to the contract it is difficult to know exactly what remedy the various operating authorities may have, but it would seem that NS is in default due to their inability to design and build a railcar that will meet the minimum fed performance requirements.  I fail to understand what needs to be negotiated to recognize the contract is voided by NS non-performance.    

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Posted by D.Carleton on Friday, May 19, 2017 7:09 PM

blue streak 1

Siemens "brightline type" cars do not have traps and the engineering designs might be expensive and will they pass the squeeze test ?

The Siemens North American Viaggio coach is designed to go anywhere in North America. If the customer wants traps and stairs the design will accommodate them. They do meet the FRA Tier 1 crush criteria.

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Posted by GERALD L MCFARLANE JR on Friday, May 19, 2017 9:00 PM

As D. Carleton mentioned, the Siemens cars had to pass the same 800,000 lb squeeze test that the N-S cars did, and did so with flying colors...there was a picture of it somewhere.  I don't think it would be to much trouble for Siemens to design and build a bi-level car out of stainless steel that would successfully pass the FRA squeeze test, at least they have the experience with welding stainless steel(something N-S didn't have).

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, May 19, 2017 9:37 PM

GERALD L MCFARLANE JR

As D. Carleton mentioned, the Siemens cars had to pass the same 800,000 lb squeeze test that the N-S cars did, and did so with flying colors...there was a picture of it somewhere.  I don't think it would be to much trouble for Siemens to design and build a bi-level car out of stainless steel that would successfully pass the FRA squeeze test, at least they have the experience with welding stainless steel(something N-S didn't have).

Yeah I think sticking with Bi-Levels for the Midwest would be more efficient one of the reasons they liked the design was the dual pair of double doors on each side of the car for fast loading and unloading.    In regards to passengers falling on stairs.......pretty confident I read the Amtrak standard was to offer an elevator for physically challenged access to the second floor.    And they can fix the stairway slip problem fairly easily, IMO.

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Posted by schlimm on Friday, May 19, 2017 10:29 PM

Siemens Viaggio Twin     Much more pleasant than gallery designs.

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Posted by erikem on Friday, May 19, 2017 10:55 PM

Reminds me of the GO Transit cars but with a straight roof profile. I prefer the GO Transit cars used on the Coaster over the Surfliner bi-levels. The landing at each end of the GO cars and Viaggio cars seem much friendlier than the Surfliner.

One not so nice aspect of the Viaggio cars is that they are narrower than US standard passenger cars.

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Posted by D.Carleton on Saturday, May 20, 2017 12:54 AM

erikem

One not so nice aspect of the Viaggio cars is that they are narrower than US standard passenger cars.

The North American Viaggio is wider than its European cousin. It roughly fits in the same space as a Viewliner.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:05 AM

Quoting CMStP&P: "....pretty confident I read the Amtrak standard was to offer an elevator for physically challenged access to the second floor." 

I do not follow this. Where could this have been said? Is this referring to gaining access to the upper level of Superliner cars? There is no room in such cars for an elevator. At certain stations, Amtrak does have an elevator that is used to assist disabled passengers to get up to the lower level, and Amtrak has elevators at other stations to assist such passengers in boarding single-level cars. I took advantage of such an elevator in Charlotte and in Washington on my last trip  for I temporarily had difficulty in using the steps. Thankfully, I was albe to use the stairways in the Superliners the rest of my trip.

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Posted by RME on Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:51 AM

Deggesty
There is no room in such cars for an elevator. At certain stations, Amtrak does have an elevator that is used to assist disabled passengers to get up to the lower level, and Amtrak has elevators at other stations to assist such passengers in boarding single-level cars.

Part of the issue is the progressive amendment and interpretive scope of the ADA.  Amtrak at one time had platform elevators to specific doors as an ADA accommodation; subsequent policy changes made all-door 'handicapped' boarding something of a mandate.

This clearly affects second-level access to any car in the train that can't be easily reached by a mobility-impaired passenger (e.g. in a wheelchair or using a scooter) from an adjacent car.  I wouldn't put it past some of the twentysomethings in government prior to the current administration to mandate vertical access in every car, which would likely mean removal of some of the salable space in the car for an elevator (mobile platform elevators or bridges apparently not being the right sort of reasonable accommodation, for highly subjective definitions of 'reason') to give the appropriate foolish consistency.

As previously noted, Amtrak is a quasi-Federal corporation, and is consequently likely subject (I only qualify this because I have no firsthand evidence) of heightened political concerns; we already have seen how often it is a target of opportunity for advocacy groups or 'large money damages' vultures or scams with respect to disabled amenities or access. 

TL;DR - unless there is a published and definitive change in interpretation of the ADA with respect to Amtrak, yes, I think there would have to be internal elevators in at least some of the cars, perhaps in every one.  I invite further informed discussion on this specific issue.

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Posted by schlimm on Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:07 AM

RME

 

 
Deggesty
There is no room in such cars for an elevator. At certain stations, Amtrak does have an elevator that is used to assist disabled passengers to get up to the lower level, and Amtrak has elevators at other stations to assist such passengers in boarding single-level cars.

 

Part of the issue is the progressive amendment and interpretive scope of the ADA.  Amtrak at one time had platform elevators to specific doors as an ADA accommodation; subsequent policy changes made all-door 'handicapped' boarding something of a mandate.

This clearly affects second-level access to any car in the train that can't be easily reached by a mobility-impaired passenger (e.g. in a wheelchair or using a scooter) from an adjacent car.  I wouldn't put it past some of the twentysomethings in government prior to the current administration to mandate vertical access in every car, which would likely mean removal of some of the salable space in the car for an elevator (mobile platform elevators or bridges apparently not being the right sort of reasonable accommodation, for highly subjective definitions of 'reason') to give the appropriate foolish consistency.

As previously noted, Amtrak is a quasi-Federal corporation, and is consequently likely subject (I only qualify this because I have no firsthand evidence) of heightened political concerns; we already have seen how often it is a target of opportunity for advocacy groups or 'large money damages' vultures or scams with respect to disabled amenities or access. 

TL;DR - unless there is a published and definitive change in interpretation of the ADA with respect to Amtrak, yes, I think there would have to be internal elevators in at least some of the cars, perhaps in every one.  I invite further informed discussion on this specific issue.

 

Your conjecture seems to have derailed.  I see no evidence of requiring elevator access on Superliners.  Nor is it present on gallery cars on Metra.

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Posted by RME on Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:58 AM

schlimm
Your conjecture seems to have derailed. I see no evidence of requiring elevator access on Superliners. Nor is it present on gallery cars on Metra.

Speaking strictly for myself, I hope it stays derailed.

Personally, I think that one mobile elevator or gantry per station completely satisfies the access "mandate" for Superliners (which are true bi-levels in which 'reasonable accommodation' cannot be provided by providing selective seating (e.g. 'wheelchair-only' or from which passengers must move to accommodate wheelchairs, as on transit buses with lifts) on an easily accessible level.)  Of course that device would have to be PMed and repaired or replaced well before train time, and appropriate people on call to run it; it might well be cheaper to equip certain cars with self-contained lifts (although I doubt that would satisfy some of the usual-suspects advocacy groups that have preyed on Amtrak over these issues in the past).

Gallery cars are (and I think we have had threads about this) ill-suited to elevators, or escalators; I think there is clearly scope to equip them with the kind of hook-on 'staircase assist' devices sold for home use, and it may be only a matter of time before some militant advocacy group tumbles to this and extorts the usual sort of consent decree that would make METRA install them.  But let's hope not; I certainly hope not.  (And I, personally, would hope not even if confined to a chair or scooter when riding the train.)

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, May 20, 2017 4:05 PM

Deggesty

Quoting CMStP&P: "....pretty confident I read the Amtrak standard was to offer an elevator for physically challenged access to the second floor." 

I do not follow this. Where could this have been said? Is this referring to gaining access to the upper level of Superliner cars? There is no room in such cars for an elevator. At certain stations, Amtrak does have an elevator that is used to assist disabled passengers to get up to the lower level, and Amtrak has elevators at other stations to assist such passengers in boarding single-level cars. I took advantage of such an elevator in Charlotte and in Washington on my last trip  for I temporarily had difficulty in using the steps. Thankfully, I was albe to use the stairways in the Superliners the rest of my trip.

Nope, not for current equipment, it was planned for the second generation bi-levels that are patterned after the Amtrak California Car bi-levels.    Which I thought the new Amtrak bi-level standard was the Midwest HSR Compact Standard until all these issues at the Illinois based manufacturer.     There were no plans to retrofit older cars with elevators.    My guess is it would have been an elevator and a hydraulic lift type from the floor vs cable type.

The elevator idea was to comply with ADA since the second floor access was the only way to access the rest of the train while the train is in motion.    I think if they kept the access on first floor, nobody cared about the elevator idea.

I am not going to dig it up for the doubting thomas' on the board but I am pretty confident if you google the new Amtrak standards spec for corridor bi-level cars it is in the text.

As for the Joe Lunchpail Metra Commuter cars, yeah they are horrible and not much different than cattle cars.    I wouldn't expect anyone in Metra to lift a finger to improve those cars at all.   Chicago will be stuck with that design for at least another century.     The GO TRANSIT Bombardier cars are sooooo much nicer and also warmer in the winter.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, May 20, 2017 4:10 PM

RME
Personally, I think that one mobile elevator or gantry per station completely satisfies the access "mandate" for Superliners (which are true bi-levels in which 'reasonable accommodation' cannot be provided by providing selective seating (e.g. 'wheelchair-only' or from which passengers must move to accommodate wheelchairs, as on transit buses with lifts) on an easily accessible level.) 

Superliners actually fall short since the wheelchair bound passenger has no access to the dining or lounge car once the train is in motion because they put the between car access on the second vs the first floor of the Superliner trainset.   Hence the special interest groups have complained.    I don't think the elevator is a legal mandate yet just that Amtrak was attempting to accomodate them with second generation set of cars based in part on the Amtrak California Car concept.

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Posted by RME on Saturday, May 20, 2017 7:13 PM

CMStPnP
Which I thought the new Amtrak bi-level standard was the Midwest HSR Compact Standard

Is this different from what I thought it was, the NGEC PRIIA section 305 bi-level spec?

Relevant section of ADA is 49 CFR 38 starting with section 111.

I find, to my considerable interest, that the Nippon Sharyo car apparently failed the 800K test by 2000 lb.  Or put a different way, 0.25%.  Someone remind me of the factor of safety implicitly included in that FRA buff standard and then tell me if this is a 'significant' failure statistically rather than statutorily... this is even less than the percentage by which, according to EMD's claims, the first-generation Chargers would miss getting to 125mph with the specification trainload.

ADA and PRIIA both appear curiously silent on the ability of 'mobility-aid' users to take their special equipment from first to second level in a moving train.  Who knows the status of any actual suits to compel full access to all areas of a moving bilevel train by mobility-aid users?  Because if one of those succeeds, there will have to be internal 'elevators' probably comparable to the devices covered in section 125 (lifts to give 'zero walkover height' between first-level entrances and the ground) and found in the NGEC spec and its various discussions.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Sunday, May 21, 2017 1:49 AM

Does anyone know how the lift operates on the Rocky Mountaineer Colorado Railcar double decker Ultra Dome cars? Does any one know whether the new Stadler Goldleaf dome cars that the Rocky Mountaineer is buying will still have them?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, May 21, 2017 12:25 PM

RME
Is this different from what I thought it was, the NGEC PRIIA section 305 bi-level spec? Relevant section of ADA is 49 CFR 38 starting with section 111. I find, to my considerable interest, that the Nippon Sharyo car apparently failed the 800K test by 2000 lb.  Or put a different way, 0.25%.  Someone remind me of the factor of safety implicitly included in that FRA buff standard and then tell me if this is a 'significant' failure statistically rather than statutorily... this is even less than the percentage by which, according to EMD's claims, the first-generation Chargers would miss getting to 125mph with the specification trainload. ADA and PRIIA both appear curiously silent on the ability of 'mobility-aid' users to take their special equipment from first to second level in a moving train.  Who knows the status of any actual suits to compel full access to all areas of a moving bilevel train by mobility-aid users?  Because if one of those succeeds, there will have to be internal 'elevators' probably comparable to the devices covered in section 125 (lifts to give 'zero walkover height' between first-level entrances and the ground) and found in the NGEC spec and its various discussions. Add Qu

OK I see where I got confused, there are carborne lifts at each door in the spec that fold out (or othewise deploy) and lift wheelchair passengers onto the first level.

The elevator is located in the Lounge Car and is intended to lift food service carts to the second level of the car not wheel chair bound passengers.    Though it probably could be modified to do both with some modification.      Interesting, the new cars face the same as the old.    Noway for someone in a wheelchair to get from first to second level.

Here is the spec with blueprints:

http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/PRIIA_Bi-Level_Spec_305-001_Approved_rev%20C.1.pdf

 

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Posted by ORNHOO on Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:56 PM

I rode several trains equipped with California Cars two years ago on a California Rail Pass. The elevators in the Cafe cars were always locked and used as storage closets for galley supplies (cartons of straws, paper napkins, sporks, etc.).

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, May 22, 2017 6:50 AM

CMStPnP

As for the Joe Lunchpail Metra Commuter cars, yeah they are horrible and not much different than cattle cars.    I wouldn't expect anyone in Metra to lift a finger to improve those cars at all.   Chicago will be stuck with that design for at least another century.     The GO TRANSIT Bombardier cars are sooooo much nicer and also warmer in the winter.

 
Suburban equipment has always been designed for high capacity, compare the difference between the gallery coaches on the "Peninsula 400" (96 seats) and a standard gallery coach in Chicago, San Francisco or Montreal (156 seats).  As a twice-daily Metra rider, I will vouch for the comfort of the gallery coaches as a whole.  Legroom may be a bit tight but not unreasonably so and walkover seats provide enough comfort for a ride that for me is only 15 miles one way and on average, not much longer for most other riders.
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Posted by schlimm on Monday, May 22, 2017 10:05 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

 

 
CMStPnP

As for the Joe Lunchpail Metra Commuter cars, yeah they are horrible and not much different than cattle cars.    I wouldn't expect anyone in Metra to lift a finger to improve those cars at all.   Chicago will be stuck with that design for at least another century.     The GO TRANSIT Bombardier cars are sooooo much nicer and also warmer in the winter.

 

 

 
Suburban equipment has always been designed for high capacity, compare the difference between the gallery coaches on the "Peninsula 400" (96 seats) and a standard gallery coach in Chicago, San Francisco or Montreal (156 seats).  As a twice-daily Metra rider, I will vouch for the comfort of the gallery coaches as a whole.  Legroom may be a bit tight but not unreasonably so and walkover seats provide enough comfort for a ride that for me is only 15 miles one way and on average, not much longer for most other riders.
 

Understood.  Most commuters on Metra ride a longer distance than your 15 miles. On the CNW and other lines, they were an improvement over older single level equipment.  However, the design is basically almost 70 years old.  Perhaps if you had ridden on other double-deck suburban coaches, you would alter your opinion. 

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Posted by longhorn1969 on Monday, May 22, 2017 11:52 AM

schlimm

Siemens Viaggio Twin     Much more pleasant than gallery designs.

 

 

But would such a car be comfortable on a 4 hour trip? This looks more commuter than intercity car.

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Posted by schlimm on Monday, May 22, 2017 12:44 PM

longhorn1969

 

 
schlimm

Siemens Viaggio Twin     Much more pleasant than gallery designs.

 

 

 

 

But would such a car be comfortable on a 4 hour trip? This looks more commuter than intercity car.

 

I believe the seating (type, number and arrangement) can be customized to the order.  I've ridden similar cars in Germany for three hours on Regional Expresses - quite comfortable.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, May 22, 2017 5:55 PM

schlimm

 I believe the seating (type, number and arrangement) can be customized to the order.

 
 
Customized orders should only be delivered when there is enough of the standard layouts to carry passenger demand.  Customizing unfortunately causes a decrease in utilization of an entire fleet.  Look at the single level fleet.  There are very few cross utilizations possible with specific baggage, coach, lounge, diner, sleepers.
If diners do not all have same layout flexibility is reduced with same number of units.
Then you need more  terminal storage area which is restricted at some terminals

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