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If Siemens could build it......

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If Siemens could build it......
Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 3, 2022 4:01 AM

If Siemens could build it, how many here would vote to bring back the Vista Dome coach?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, November 3, 2022 9:57 AM

With Superliners currently assigned to almost all of the scenic routes, domes would be superfluous.  The forward view is limited to the first two or three rows and the Sightseer lounges and the recently discontinued Pacific Parlour Cars offered a very good view.

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 Overmod on Thursday, November 3, 2022 4:01 PM

Not just the Vista-Dome, but those ACL parlor cars with sky windows that were allowed to operate under catenary and with New York tunnel clearance.

I believe there are cars in Europe currently (or recently at least) operating with similar 'fenestration'.

Personally, I can't stand the reflections from the inside of curved glass, so I'd be more in favor of a Skytop-style arrangement; this would also be easier to source and to repair, and more likely to satisfy FRA glazing requirements.

In my opinion there is a very real problem with 'high-level' domes or large view windows.  While Amtrak continues to have a predilection to dump cars on their sides at speed, people will continue to be ejected (or worse, partially ejected) from windows.  Special care would have to be taken with more, or larger, glass.

I think I've seen Siemens-built double-level cars with 'floor-into-ceiling' windows on the upper deck.  I suspect those wouldn't be hard to make compatible with American (PRIIA) standards after 2023...

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 3, 2022 4:57 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
With Superliners currently assigned to almost all of the scenic routes, domes would be superfluous.  The forward view is limited to the first two or three rows and the Sightseer lounges and the recently discontinued Pacific Parlour Cars offered a very good view.

Yes, but you forgot to mention the Colorado Railcar design which does have foward visibilty.    I am not sure forward visibility is gone for good.     

The old Vista Dome design though has safety issues as well as ADA issues with access that might doom it without an intelligent redesign of some kind that hopefully does not impact the 360 degree glass sit on top of railcar view.

I think the Europeans are still nostalgic for their former panorama cars, so maybe a company like Siemens could be talked into looking at the design again?

Modern recreation below of the panorama car:

https://tripbytrip.org/2020/07/21/eurocity-ec-8-zurich-to-cologne-in-sbbs-panoramic-car/

check out the shades, never had those on a vista dome.   

Older version below which is kind of like a vista dome though they could not move much above the roof due to electric wires and tunnel clearances I believe.....

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Netrail_P1_dome_interior.jpg

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 3, 2022 6:19 PM

Something I played around with a couple of decades ago, when I learned about Draper Tapers, was the idea of tapering a car like a Superliner down to "vestibule" clearance at each end, using a swinging automatic door, and tapering the 'panorama' windows to give more of a forward view.  The same thing can be done in the center of the car, without doors, to give the effect of multiple domes on a single car.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, November 3, 2022 7:56 PM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, November 4, 2022 1:45 AM

Overmod
I think I've seen Siemens-built double-level cars with 'floor-into-ceiling' windows on the upper deck.  I suspect those wouldn't be hard to make compatible with American (PRIIA) standards after 2023...

Siemens Passenger Car Construction made the claim somewhere that I read and I should have book marked it because I thought it was remarkable but they said they could build anything.....the client just had to ask for it.

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Posted by rdamon on Friday, November 4, 2022 6:52 AM

Didn't Stadler build the cars for the Rocky Mountaineer?

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Posted by Jim200 on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 8:42 AM

The  Vista-Domes were amazing and still my favorite. For awhile I was receiving Amtrak’s auction list, and one time a lot of about 30 of those forward glass windows was being sold. As I recall, they were 1 inch thick or more; not 1/4 inch, not 1/2 inch, not 3/4 inch, they were really thick. Yet they could be broken by hooligans throwing rocks from bridges and other scenarios.

Today we have unbreakable plastics such as polycarbonate which can be used. And if you want shade, there are plastics with a flip of an electric switch, turn opaque. There are also, yet to be commercialized, see through window solar panels. They look just like windows, but at the same time are generating electricity.

The design of the new Superliners could have some interesting touches due to new materials. We know that the states didn’t like long “easy to fall and sue” stairs, so the segmented circular stairway and maybe an elevator is in. We also know that having two doors near the railcar ends complicates structural strength, especially combined with Crush Energy Management, CEM. With the possibility of a rollover, isn’t it time for an escape hatch in the roof, similar to those in school buses? With such a large roof area, up to 16,000 watts from 36 solar panels could help to generate energy. You can hype up wi-fi, but what about interior safety and comfort considerations? With non conflicting weight-strength specifications, Siemens and a number of other companies could be the one to build the new Superliner. However, due to present financial fastidiousness, the Vista-Dome may unfortunately be relegated to the pages of history.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 9:23 AM

Theoretically, at least, you could fabricate the structure from wound filament; the necessary large-scale equipment is in place for aircraft fuselages.  You would then provide the ROPS inside the shell.

Although I haven't seen private cars take advantage of this yet, a combination of low-E glass and reflective coatings ought to reduce the solar gain for the large glass area to manageable level.  As noted, I can't stand the interior reflections from curved glass, so I'd just as soon use segmented flat panes (as mentioned, the Skytops used them, and the necessary heavy reinforced-glass panes could be waterjet-cut to precise size and bevel.  This is both more easily 'armored' against cinderblocks/catenary issues and replaced if anything untoward happens (by custom order from saved CNC data, so no stocking of expensive pieces is needed).

Polycarbonate has to be carefully screened against UV radiation, and it scratches incredibly easily when the car is washed -- which, for domes, has to happen very regularly or the effect is destroyed.  A thin hardened layer or hard coating can be applied, but it is difficult to keep this attached to the Lexan, and when separations get started they can't be fixed and look like hell.  I'd be much more inclined to use armorglass of the kind used in banks, which have a number of layers of Mylar sandwiched between panes, and bed it in correctly with elastomer so it can absorb external shock without stress raising at the periphery.

Electrochromics, I thought, were usually provided via an internal space between panes filled with liquid-crystal material, which aligned when an electric field was applied.  This would be easier to implement on flat than on curved panels, but the aggregate high voltage to keep the windows clear would be a substantial fraction of the HEP load.

There is a problem with front-facing windows on bilevel domes, which is that tunnels and bridges always look like you're going to hit them.  This was particularly bad on the GN W-1 electrics, and while it's a bit different to have just the 'side' forward-facing panes in place, it's going to be startling to run under all sorts of grade separated bridges.

If you wanted to have some real fun, it is possible to embed small LEDs and print a fine-wire set of connections to them in the inner surface coating, so that the windows can be driven as displays when it's dark outside.  This might be used to provide some of the emergency 'track lighting' that strobes to direct passengers to the nearest emergency exit if the car is on its side where floor-mounted lights would be less visible.

The car designer's job is vastly complicated because it's critically important that the windows DON'T come out in a crash, but emergency window access is easy for passengers to figure out and 'deploy'.  This is the sort of thing that aerospace applications use pyrotechnics for... but in a world where passengers already sabotage toilets, that would be a likely invitation to mischief.  The present method is to make the elastomer surround of an emergency window with a kind of pull-tab arrangement that pulls it out and lets the window glass drop out, but this may reduce the size of the window pane that can be used, and up to now it looks a bit unsightly (perhaps to make it more obvious as an escape route).

I think you are right about the roof hatches, but they would have to be carefully secured against tampering; I'd foresee a long string of YouTube and TikTok videos of 'train surfers', and perhaps an alarmingly long string of Darwin Awards, if that's not effective with the train upright.  Perhaps a few spring bolts that can be retracted only with the car on its side would be a start.

   

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 3:57 PM

Carbon fiber carbodies?  A friend has the initial BMW i-car.  The cost for the carbon fiber body was prohibitive for a marketable price point (lost money) so the redesigned ones are standard construction.   I'm not sure how many of these luxury cruisers would be needed but not enough to get savings in scale.  Who would pay?  Another taxpayer cost override?  This isn't the DOD where such pork is standard.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 6:45 PM

Doesn't have to be carbon fiber -- there's no particular weight-saving concern, and the usual weight penalty for composite construction would apply.  The point is that the shell is 'wound' before any doors, fenestration, or hatches are needed, so all the bodies can be formed and proofed regardless of actual car type.

 

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