Hypothetical High Platform Superliner Replacements

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87YJ

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Mailliw: I agree but few understand or have seen a aisle chair. How they can fold up and be left in the ADA room or stored. :)

Plus they would pass through car to car or down narrow halls.
 

Cal

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But the operating crew (as distinguished from the OBS crew) requirements are the same for five cars or for ten cars.
If there's more revenue cars than another conductor is needed. I believe it's one conductor per 3 revenue cars?
 

neroden

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Is it really that hard to design a sleeping car that wheelchair users could pass through? Especially if an airline style transfer chair qualifies as a reasonable accommodation?
For a single-level car? It's possible, though you lose some space due to having to remove sharp turns from the hallway.

For a bilevel car? You end up using up so much space with lifts that the density advantages of bilevel cars disappear.
 

sttom

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Is it really that hard to design a sleeping car that wheelchair users could pass through? Especially if an airline style transfer chair qualifies as a reasonable accommodation?
It really depends on if the regulations change and/or what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation. As it stands now, getting a wheelchair through isn't possible and apparently it's reasonable that only 1 sleeper on a Viewliner trains to have wheelchair accessible to the diner. Having read through the current regulations and the proposed changes that are being studied, The logical conclusions are 1) no enclosed rooms for any equipment built once the changes go into effect 2) enclosed rooms that possibly lack amenities are are smaller to make the hallways wider or 3) having to move wheelchair bound passenger between cars outside of the train while it's stopped. Given that the turn radius inside rooms could also change as well, will mess with the space needed to even have an accessible room he ADA compliant.

So it really matter what changes are made, should their be changed. If they only change to a paradigm of access to all part of the train for wheelchair riders without assistance from the train crew, then not only are bilevel (and probably multilevels) done for, but so would enclosed rooms. Which would mean all of us having sections and lie flat seats since the regulations for seats only state that a reserved spot for disabled rider be within so many feet on an ADA compliant bathroom with the same amenities as as a non ADA bathroom.

If Amtrak were allowed to move passengers between their accomodations and the diner outside of the train on long distance services, new Superliners could be built. The change being that the bar space in the SSL become the chair lift and each train probably being required to have 2. The other kicker with this is requiring 48 inch high platforms for level boarding which paired with unassisted access would also do in any other rolling stock besides single level equipment.

Which is also to say that this is up in the air. We don't know what, if any changes could happen as of writing this. And until then, this is all speculation. But yes it's difficult to have wheelchairs navigate Sleepers and proposed changes could throw a monkey wrench into future orders.
 

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Having read through the current regulations and the proposed changes that are being studied, The logical conclusions are 1) no enclosed rooms for any equipment built once the changes go into effect 2) enclosed rooms that possibly lack amenities [and] are smaller to make the hallways wider or 3) having to move wheelchair bound passenger between cars outside of the train while it's stopped. Given that the turn radius inside rooms could also change as well, will mess with the space needed to even have an accessible room [be] ADA compliant.
Sounds like we might be going back to curtained sectionals at private bedroom prices by the time all disputes are settled.
 
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Clearly, this is what Amtrak has been planning all along to get rid of it's LD trains.
Members who distrust Amtrak management can point to specific examples like the targeting of the Southwest Chief for permanent bus downgrades, the flexible "contemporary meals" fiasco, a clumsy website that loses functionality while blocking third party workarounds, and some of the shortest consists on record. The return to daily trains and traditional dining is courtesy of Congress so I guess the pro-management argument revolves around the switch to Coke and new bedding? The problem with the ADA is that "reasonable accommodation" keeps changing with no obvious limit to how far it can reach.
 
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sttom

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Members who distrust Amtrak management can point to specific examples like the targeting of the Southwest Chief for permanent bus downgrades, the flexible "contemporary meals" fiasco, a clumsy website that loses functionality while blocking third party workarounds, and some of the shortest consists on record. The return to daily trains and traditional dining is courtesy of Congress so I guess the pro-management argument revolves around the switch to Coke and new bedding?
In all honesty though, if ADA is used to make LD trains less attractive, it won't really be on Amtrak management for that. Having run in activist circles, the people most willing to ask for changes like the ones being considered are the ones the least likely to be convinced that they are overstepping on anything. And as someone who is able bodied, I appreciate ADA, what I don't appreciate is the imposition of rules that leave a yes or no question when we aren't dealing with chemical contamination issues and the feds won't be paying for compliance. If the feds want to make Penn Station the model of ADA compliance, so be it, but they really should be on the hook to pay for the difference between a low level platform, rolling stock and associated facilities. But as it is, we're going to get rules and funding as usual, which is one part of the issue I have with these issues. Especially if the logical consequences is no enclosed sleepers. I may want the option of a section, but as stated on many other issues pertaining to changing Amtrak, I don't want something at the expense of what exists now. And if we get dumb rules it's going to be because no one will make a good case as to why the disability activists that will take the time to go to DC and sit through the appropriate meetings are wrong and will actually hurt the riders they are claiming to care about.
 

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In all honesty though, if ADA is used to make LD trains less attractive, it won't really be on Amtrak management for that.
I agree in principle but other than Amtrak management who is in a position to defend against unreasonable demands? One aspect that seems to get lost in the debate is how the history of Amtrak's long distance network is a story of repeatedly losing ground rather than gaining it. It may be a much slower death than originally predicted but it's still dying nonetheless. The long distance network has been losing ground for decades and unless this trend can be reversed it will eventually lose everything.
 
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neroden

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I'm not seeing any opposition to private rooms from actual disability advocacy groups, who seem to like the rooms.
By contrast, disability advocacy groups really would like high platforms everywhere.
 

MARC Rider

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I'm not seeing any opposition to private rooms from actual disability advocacy groups, who seem to like the rooms.
By contrast, disability advocacy groups really would like high platforms everywhere.
Do the disability advocacy groups recognize the technical issues that might make it difficult to both have private rooms on trains and also make the entire train accessible to wheelchairs? I've found that sometimes activists get a wee bit too enthusiastic for their cause and start demanding things that aren't practical.
 

neroden

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Disability advocacy groups tend to be *extremely* sensitive to technical feasibility, as those in wheelchairs have to navigate it constantly.
 

MARC Rider

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Disability advocacy groups tend to be *extremely* sensitive to technical feasibility, as those in wheelchairs have to navigate it constantly.
I was thinking about "technical feasibility" in the other direction -- If the discussion here has any accuracy, it may be technically feasible to design a sleeping car in which a person in a wheelchair can pass through, but the resulting product may be not be a viable sleeping car. (Not private rooms, limited capacity, etc.)
 

Mailliw

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A single-level all-bedroom sleeping car should be possible since wheelchairs would have a straight path from vestibule to vestibule w/o having to turn midway. Roomettes would go away, but that might not be so bad if open section cars with an wheelchair seat next to an ADA bathroom were allowed.
 

Cal

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By contrast, disability advocacy groups really would like high platforms everywhere.
Well, you can have a platform that is the same height to the superliner door for a similar boarding experience as you get on the east coast.
 

MARC Rider

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A single-level all-bedroom sleeping car should be possible since wheelchairs would have a straight path from vestibule to vestibule w/o having to turn midway. Roomettes would go away, but that might not be so bad if open section cars with an wheelchair seat next to an ADA bathroom were allowed.
Actually, it's an all-roomette sleeping car that would be wheelchair-friendly, because there's a corridor up the middle of the car where the roomettes are. Of course, the corridor would have to be made a bit wider to accommodate wheelchairs, so the roomettes will be a bit smaller. Bedrooms take up most of the width of the car, so the corridor has to be on one side of the car, which means there has to be a dogleg in the corridor to connect to the vestibule and passageway between the cars, which might be very difficult to make large enough for a wheelchair to be able to negotiate the turns.
 

Cal

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The high platform at tracks 17 - 20 at Washington Union Station is also a bit lower relative to the Amfleet door entrances. The one at Dallas looks similar relative to the Superliner entrances.
Either way, it is possible so you don't need single-level cars to make platforms that allow for easier boarding. Why most platforms are usually build below that level is beyond me.
 

Mailliw

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Actually, it's an all-roomette sleeping car that would be wheelchair-friendly, because there's a corridor up the middle of the car where the roomettes are. Of course, the corridor would have to be made a bit wider to accommodate wheelchairs, so the roomettes will be a bit smaller. Bedrooms take up most of the width of the car, so the corridor has to be on one side of the car, which means there has to be a dogleg in the corridor to connect to the vestibule and passageway between the cars, which might be very difficult to make large enough for a wheelchair to be able to negotiate the turns.
An all-roomette car would definitely be easier to move a wheelchair through, but presumably you'd still have to fit an ensuite ADA bedroom in.
A really interesting possibility would be married pair sleeping cars. If each pair only needed 1 ADA bedroom then 1 could be all bedroom while the other all roomette.
 

John819

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An all-roomette car would definitely be easier to move a wheelchair through, but presumably you'd still have to fit an ensuite ADA bedroom in.
A really interesting possibility would be married pair sleeping cars. If each pair only needed 1 ADA bedroom then 1 could be all bedroom while the other all roomette.

If you turned the bedroom orientation 90 degrees, you could have one car of the pair with accessible bedrooms and a wide hallway and the other car with all roomettes. You just would need to put the bedroom car next to the dining car.
 

cocojacoby

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I posted this idea on another thread back in April. I feel it could be a very different solution to this Superliner/ADA problem:

--------------------------------

Okay, I'm just throwing this out there:

Retrofit or build new Superliner diners and sightseer lounge cars as follows:

Sightseer Car:

1 - Replace lower lounge with two HP bedrooms. There already is an accessible toilet right there or completely remove lounge and toilet and replace with two fully equipped HP bedrooms.

2 - Add lift to upper level.

3 - Can all of the swivel chairs be turned to allow for passage of a wheelchair? If not install narrower tables or seats at one end of the car to provide accessibility to the end door that faces the dinner.

4 - Add wheelchair space somewhere in the lounge.

Diner Car:

1- Make both end tables at one end accessible utilizing flip down seats so that they can be used by everyone if possible.



amtrak-diagram-superliner-diningcar.jpg


Sightseer_Lounge_Car.jpg



Now a wheelchair passenger has full access to all of the passenger related amenities. Leave the coaches and sleepers alone except now you can add one or two (depending on the number of sleepers) sellable family rooms to every consist. There really is no need to have accessibility through the entire train.

Amtrak may have to ask for a waiver but this seems to provide equal and enhanced access to the most important features of the train. It doesn't cause a loss of room revenue but in fact adds to the bottom line. The Sightseer now actually generates room revenue and the H bedroom in the sleepers can be sold as a second family room.

BTW - On a recent Auto Train trip, I never saw anyone using that lower lounge.
 
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20th Century Rider

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I do like the idea of a new set of wheels for Amtrak that will bring consistency and access to the entire Amtrak system... with the capability of moving cars to where they need to be... including standardized sleepers [roomette / bedroom / handicapped / and
big windows cars for dining and lounging. Really... if Amtrak is looking to be more efficient this is the way to go.

Same idea as SW having an all 737 fleet.

But I'm just dreaming... first things first... funding!
 
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20th Century Rider

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I posted this idea on another thread back in April. I feel it could be a very different solution to this Superliner/ADA problem:

--------------------------------

Okay, I'm just throwing this out there:

Retrofit or build new Superliner diners and sightseer lounge cars as follows:

Sightseer Car:

1 - Replace lower lounge with two HP bedrooms. There already is an accessible toilet right there or completely remove lounge and toilet and replace with two fully equipped HP bedrooms.

2 - Add lift to upper level.

3 - Can all of the swivel chairs be turned to allow for passage of a wheelchair? If not install narrower tables or seats at one end of the car to provide accessibility to the end door that faces the dinner.

4 - Add wheelchair space somewhere in the lounge.

Diner Car:

1- Make both end tables at one end accessible utilizing flip down seats so that they can be used by everyone if possible.



amtrak-diagram-superliner-diningcar.jpg


Sightseer_Lounge_Car.jpg



Now a wheelchair passenger has full access to all of the passenger related amenities. Leave the coaches and sleepers alone except now you can add one or two (depending on the number of sleepers) sellable family rooms to every consist. There really is no need to have accessibility through the entire train.

Amtrak may have to ask for a waiver but this seems to provide equal and enhanced access to the most important features of the train. It doesn't cause a loss of room revenue but in fact adds to the bottom line. The Sightseer now actually generates room revenue and the H bedroom in the sleepers can be sold as a second family room.

BTW - On a recent Auto Train trip, I never saw anyone using that lower lounge.
But I'm struggling with the Superliners idea because Handicapped can't be well accommodated and building a lift would require funding / take up passenger space... and wouldn't be economically inefficient.
 
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