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What was so bad about gallery cars?

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What was so bad about gallery cars?
Posted by aegrotatio on Sunday, May 9, 2021 6:39 PM

Reading about commuter rail rolling stock replacements I've seen more than one person state that gallery cars are a terrible idea whose reason for existing is anything from old-fashioned ticket-taking methods to dirt falling onto passengers from people's shoes upstairs.


What's the real story?

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, May 10, 2021 6:11 AM

1. A true double-decker can have two-and-two seating both opstairs and downstairs.  Gallery cars one-and-one upstairs and tw-and-two downstairs.

2.  Slow boarding and exiting because of usual stair and door arrangements; correctable, but only with further loss of capacity.

Gallery cars were an intelligent solution when traditional ticket collecting and checking methods were employed.  They are obsolete where preboarding and postexiting ticket validation and/or on-board random checks are employed.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, May 10, 2021 6:50 AM

Also, gallery cars cannot proveide all three:  level boarding with high platforms, level boarding with low platforms, handicapped access to seating with both.  Lozenge double deckers can and do in some cases provide all three.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Monday, May 10, 2021 10:16 AM

My commuting experience on the Chicago and Northwestern (gives away my age) is that the 2+2 lower-level seats are fine and reduced head clearance above those seats for the gallery level was not a problem.

The 1+1 seats on the upper level are the best seats on the train car.  Most of the seating on the upper level, however, is what I called the "Peanut Gallery."  This is the "bleachers" section of a long row of fold down seats where you sit sideways with your back to the window.  Instead of 2 across downstairs or 1 across upstairs, this is like a long row in a theatre, where you need to shimmy across a lot of other passengers' knees to get up for your stop.

I suppose the Peanut Gallery is to boost seating capacity without resorting to standing as is common practice on buses, light rail and heavy rail (subway and elevated) rapid transit.

The other thing to remember about commuter service is that inbound to work, the train starts at "the end of the line" where only a few passengers board, and more and more people get on at each successive stop until you arrive at your destination.  Inbound, where you sit pretty much depends on where you live along the line because commuter operations basically collect passengers in the 'burbs and everyone gets off Downtown.  I used the train to get between home and school midway along the line, but that was not the bulk of its use.  

Outbound, I guess you could get one of the 1+1 seats if you boarded early.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, May 10, 2021 12:09 PM

Having been a daily rider on BN since 1980 and Southwest Service since 1987, I have never been able to fathom the gripes about gallery coaches in general.  The ride is reasonably comfortable and loading and unloading does not take so long that it slows down service as a whole.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, May 10, 2021 12:10 PM

aegrotatio
Reading about commuter rail rolling stock replacements I've seen more than one person state that gallery cars are a terrible idea whose reason for existing is anything from old-fashioned ticket-taking methods to dirt falling onto passengers from people's shoes upstairs. What's the real story?  

About 8 years ago I had a 15 month project in Shamburg, IL and had to use the Milwaukee West line quite a bit.     Also have experience on the TRE cars here in Dallas which are former GO Transit cars repainted.    Last have ridden a long time ago some of the German Commutter trains.

1. Haven't seen anything yet approaching the comfort or convienence of the German designed cars.   So we will table those in this comparison.

2. Bombardier cars have very little steel exposed in the passenger compartment so you do not get the refrigerator "cold radiation" effect you do on the steel in the Chicago stainless steel gallery cars on cold weather days.

3. The stairs to the upper level of the gallery cars in Chicago are very narrow.   Bombardier staircase is almost three times as wide.    Additionally, the Bombardier staircase only has half the stairs since it starts up to the upper level or down to the lower level at the regular car diaphram level.    Last the Bombardier car has two sets of double exit doors on the lower level vs the just one set in center of the car on the Chicago Gallery cars.    If I had to guess the Bombardier design empties and fills a lot faster.

4. On some of the Bombardier cars that Dallas has they have video displays on next station arrival as well as chairs facing each other with a table in between for eating or playing cards.    They are better lit was well vs the gallery cars.    You do not get the cattle car feel on the Bombardier cars that you do on the gallery cars.   The seats on all levels of the Bombardier cars are spaced farther apart then the Chicago commuter cars.    I am 6 foot 5 inches tall and cannot fit behind the upper level seating on a Chicago gallery car, no issue anywhere I sit in the Bombardier car.     Chicago gallery car has fold down jump seats when it is really crowded..........no fold down jump seats exist on the Bombardier car.

5.  The whole ticket collecting excuse.....   Back in the day when Private Railroads were trying to make money on the service it maybe made sense to have the open gallery cars.    Those days are long gone.   I really have no idea why METRA has people on board collecting tickets to me that is huge waste in labor costs.    Dallas uses an honorary system with a spot check by transit police and a steep fine if your caught riding without tickets.    I think the Dallas fare collection is more efficient than Chicago.    Additionally the automatic ticket kiosks in Dallas save labor and the tickets sold are (called a day pass) intermodal in some cases (good on TRE, light rail and bus) over a specific time period in a specific region.    So the ticketing is more simplified in Dallas vs Chicago as well.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, May 10, 2021 9:56 PM

 I have not seen seating capacities on galleym vs new vs Bombardier cars. Can anyone furnish?

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 2:56 AM

CM.  Thanks for your support.  Had lots of experience with gallery cars when living in La Grange summer 1952 and Westmount-Downers Grove 1967-1970.  Israel uses the standard Bombardier-Alsthom-Siemans bi-level design, and it does load and unload quicker, holds more people, and is more comfortable.

Fare validation before boarding and upon exiting (card-reading with turnstyles) with occasional on-board inspection.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 9:21 AM

CMStPnP:  Agree totally. They should have stopped buying gallery-design cars by 1980.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 11:23 AM

daveklepper
Fare validation before boarding and upon exiting (card-reading with turnstyles) with occasional on-board inspection.

When I was stationed with the Army in Germany (1980's) on the Bremen to Bremerhaven line they used to have locomotive pulled trains (since replaced I think by DMU's).    Anyway, same deal.   Ticket kiosk on platform, validate ticket prior to getting on train and it stamps the date and time used on the ticket invalidating it for another trip.     Flip same ticket over on arrival in Bremerhaven and you could validate again for streetcar or bus line.     It was basically a one way intermodal ticket very simple.     Trains were on memory schedules too.    I think it was once an hour train to Bremen each way on the hour at a specific time.    On arriving in Bremen all the connecting busses were either waiting or a short wait for.     Same deal with them, memory schedules.       Such a tight setup the Germans had......it was as good as a car in my opinion.

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Posted by 54light15 on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 1:48 PM

In Toronto we have the Presto card that is similar to London's Oyster. On the GO train you touch in on the platform before boarding and touch out on the arrival platform when leaving. In London on the tube, you touch in and out but in Toronto on the subway you only touch when going in. Unlike London, there are no fare zones here. Now and then there are fare inspectors that will examine your Presto card but I've never seen an inspector in London. 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 11:40 AM

54light15
I've never seen an inspector in London. 

Sometimes they wear plain clothes in Europe.   They do seem to always be uniformed in the United States though.   Never seen a plain clothes bust in the United States....have seen it in Italy and Germany.

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