Hypothetical High Platform Superliner Replacements

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I'm kind of lost with your comment. ADA passengers would be much better accommodated. They would have access to the diner and the lounge which they do not have now.
I'm for single level cars... eliminating the need for a lift that takes more space and could break down. The dining car also needs to use a lift to get food from the kitchen below. ADA passengers would be better served on single level cars.

I'm for single level cars for many other reasons as well. The folks on the bottom level [referred to by Amtrak staff and customers as the 'dungeon'] has four roomettes that are by the stairwell, luggage racks, and entrance door... making for a noisy area... and lower level gets a disadvantaged view. The H room is at the far end preceeded by all the bathrooms... so H room gets that noise and 'aroma' also has a lower level view. The family room is at the opposite end and is either facing forward or backward. With the lower limited view.

And there's more issues... only one WC upstairs for the roomette passengers... which seems to always be breaking down, so they have to navigate that narrow stairwell to use the WC's downstairs.

This is just my humble opinion... and I've been riding Amtrak for years as well as trains around the world. As we explore these opinions... Japan has just removed its only double decker Shinkansen from service not to be replaced.

But there's always a possibility that a new design will make us all happy... meanwhile... we all want the best possible rail experience for ourselves and other customers.
 

neroden

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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.
It's obstructionism by freight railroads which make questionable claims about the "need" for lower platforms to allow for malfunctioning freight equipment with bits hanging off it. :-( Seriously.
 
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sttom

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The issue I have with the ADA changes beyond the hopefully unintended consequence of not having enclosed anymore is that issue around level boarding. Siemens can build single level cars where the entry is at the same height as a Superliner, along with basically every major manufacturer having something in their lineup having the same floor height. I want level boarding, but writing regulations that 1) most of the country is going to have a hell of a time building to assuming the railroads go for it (or are bribed into it) 2) has the consequence of making every agency have to choose essentially the same equipment. Setting the level boarding standard be set to the height of the Superliners would leave Amtrak and any other operator the flexibility to choose between single or bilevel equipment. Cause with the changes that could come through, even multilevels could be on the chopping block. And that is before we even talk reasonable accommodations.

As far as fleet commonality goes, again having 2 system wide types of cars isn't going to be the end of the world. Amtrak could do something radical like design its own cars or any other such radical thing to ensure part commonality to the greatest extent possible even if different companies make the cars. Car companies do this all the time, a Civic and a CRV aren't 100% different vehicles. So my issue isn't with single level cars, its the writing of laws that makes the choice "single level to these precise standards or no trains". Especially when hell practically has to freeze for the federal government to even fund a rail project let alone pay the difference between what they want to require and what the cheapest practical alternative is.
 
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87YJ

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I wonder how many of you have had hands on a wheelchair, Knowing the difference between a power, ridged & folding. I have for 35+ years. Way too many widths as some people pack on the pounds. The chairs can be over 40" wide needing a wide hallway.
So there will be fewer rooms and higher prices to ride. I see no way to shrink a roomette and not be standing on the bed. :confused:
As I posted earlier a airline Isle chair is the only simple option that the gov. will go along with and not cost a lot of money, giving Amtrak another reason to raise prices with the bucket thing they do...
How I know , My wife is a paraplegic.
 

Cal

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The folks on the bottom level [referred to by Amtrak staff and customers as the 'dungeon'] has four roomettes that are by the stairwell, luggage racks, and entrance door... making for a noisy area... and lower level gets a disadvantaged view.
I've been on the lower roomettes quite a bit, never have had the issue with the noise. There was one partially noisy family one time, but I generally found it more cute to see a little girl loving the train ride than annoying. In fact, the bedrooms upstairs with the slim dividers are lot noisier; it's very easy to hear someone's phone call in your room.

The disadvantaged view isn't a deal breaker to me (Although I haven't been on the CZ) as the SSL is always open. And I love just looking down at the other track(s) and watching them speed by, especially when going fairly fast.

The restroom issue could probably be resolved if Amtrak was better with it's maintenance (and the passengers treating it well)
 

Ryan

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Amtrak could do something radical like design its own cars or any other such radical thing to ensure part commonality to the greatest extent possible even if different companies make the cars.
There is zero percent chance of that happening. It word for cars because you're building millions of them. It works far less for a handful of railcars. No need to reinvent the wheel with a world filled with perfectly acceptable rolling stock.
 

John819

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For commonality you could just settle on one design (single level). The Venture, which is being added to the system on various regionals (including the plans for the NEC) would be a great starting point.

For the ADA issue, you could have a "core" on each LD train of a lounge / observation car, a diner, and an ADA accessible sleeper. Then add coaches and sleepers to the core. The only problem you would have is with the EB and the LSL which split.
 
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For commonality you could just settle on one design (single level). The Venture, which is being added to the system on various regionals (including the plans for the NEC) would be a great starting point.

For the ADA issue, you could have a "core" on each LD train of a lounge / observation car, a diner, and an ADA accessible sleeper. Then add coaches and sleepers to the core. The only problem you would have is with the EB and the LSL which split.

How does Amtrak crew assignments work now? Does each Viewliner have an attendant? Losing that one roomette to the double bathroom module makes it rather inefficient compared to a Superliner if that's the case.

Maybe Amtrak should go with semi-permanent open-vestibule sleeper couple pairs?. That way one attendant can take car of two sleeper cars. And could a "drawbar/open vestibule pair" be considered one car for ADA terminology? How about two piece articulated open vestibule cars attached on one truck? Could that be considered one car requiring one ADA room?

Using coupled pairs of coaches and sleepers may make a big difference in efficiency and may justify going all single level. Although I do like the Superliners, the Viewliner sleepers have a much better room design with a more open comfortable feel.

As far as the "core" goes. That again could be a coupled pair with a lounge and diner semi-permanently attached. However I think you have to consider that the Viewliner diner is just too small to satisfy the needs of a full LD train. Amtrak's wish of going to a single "food service" car with the Viewliner is just ridiculous.

You have to think outside of the box here and this just might be the place you go bi-level. A typical bi-level NEC Plate car could have a full width kitchen on the bottom level and seating on the top level in the "dome" and also at both vestibule ends (with an ADA table at one end for coach passengers and one at the other end for sleeper passengers). Maybe the car could be used as a lounge when not serving meals or even better a 24-hour "bistro" for light snacks and drinks around the clock.

If business is really good, Amtrak could couple two of these together and have separate diner and lounge cars. Two of these on the LSL and EB would work out just fine. Now add a baggage dorm of course to max out the revenue numbers and you got a pretty efficient fleet.

P.S. I do have to say . . . . PLEASE Amtrak, whatever you decide, make sure that the seats can rotate forward on any new LD train!
 

neroden

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For commonality you could just settle on one design (single level). The Venture, which is being added to the system on various regionals (including the plans for the NEC) would be a great starting point.

For the ADA issue, you could have a "core" on each LD train of a lounge / observation car, a diner, and an ADA accessible sleeper. Then add coaches and sleepers to the core. The only problem you would have is with the EB and the LSL which split.
Cue my long-standing suggestion of separate Boston and NY trains; there's enough demand.
 
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Cue my long-standing suggestion of separate Boston and NY trains; there's enough demand.
Is there? I'd seriously love to believe that but the Boston section has always been really short. If the demand was great I would think it would have more cars.

And I will add my long-standing suggestion that it should run through Canada and Detroit. Yup, I expect the same border crossing comments but also please consider that the Capitol Limited and the Lake Shore leave Cleveland for Chicago 45 minutes apart around 3 o'clock in the morning.

I'm guessing this is the only place in the country where you actually have a choice of riding in a Superliner train or a low-level LD train between the same major city pair?
 
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neroden

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Is there? I'd seriously love to believe that but the Boston section has always been really short. If the demand was great I would think it would have more cars.

Well, caveat, I think that demand is suppressed by it not running on time. :p
And the timetable for the Boston section isn't good at the moment, either.

My belief is that there is enough demand on the Lake Shore route for one Boston train and two New York trains, on three different schedules, *if* the problems with CSX and NS delaying trains can be overcome.
 

PerRock

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P.S. I do have to say . . . . PLEASE Amtrak, whatever you decide, make sure that the seats can rotate forward on any new LD train!
All coach and business class seats on long distance trains can be rotated around to face forward. However a lot of times the yard crews turning the trains don't flip the seats, and most on board crews don't want you doing it yourself. (It's the little silver foot pedal on the aisle end of your seat pair that unlocks the rotation)
 
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All coach and business class seats on long distance trains can be rotated around to face forward. However a lot of times the yard crews turning the trains don't flip the seats, and most on board crews don't want you doing it yourself. (It's the little silver foot pedal on the aisle end of your seat pair that unlocks the rotation)

I said that because I believe all of the new equipment Amtrak has recently ordered has fixed seats. That means half of the passengers are forced to ride backwards on all of the new Siemen's Venture equipment I have seen so far.

 

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Cal

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That means half of the passengers are forced to ride backwards on all of the new Siemen's Venture equipment I have seen so far.
I don't see much of a problem with that, that's how it is on the Surfline.
 
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Is it possible to wye or loop all LD trains at their terminal service areas? The ones I am familiar with (NYP, BOS, WAS, TAMPA, MIAMI) are all doable. In that way Amtrak can make "fixed" consists all with fixed forward facing seating.
 

jis

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Is it possible to wye or loop all LD trains at their terminal service areas? The ones I am familiar with (NYP, BOS, WAS, TAMPA, MIAMI) are all doable. In that way Amtrak can make "fixed" consists all with fixed forward facing seating.
AFAIK they all already are.

The newly ordered Amtrak Regional train sets (Amfleet I replacements) will not necessarily be turned around. They are designed to run in either direction with power at one end and a cab car at the other end. However they still will get turned around in places like New York where there is no easy/non-disruptive way to get a train into Sunnyside Yard without turning it around. But they probably will not be turned around in Boston or Washington, just as the Acelas are not, today.

As for what happens with LD trains, we will know only when they get around to order the next generation equipment for them, which is probably at lest a few years away.

In places with intensive frequent (almost Regional level) LD service, the trains are not turned around. Their dwell times at end points are not as leisurely as Amtrak's since they use their equipment much more intensively.
 

Cal

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But they probably will not be turned around in Boston or Washington, just as the Acelas are not, today.
My Acela was, to my extreme surprised, turned at Boston. This resulted in me sitting on the same side on the way back as I was sitting on the trip there.
 

west point

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Do not know much about passenger trains. However the Freights turn equipment so that wear is the same on both sides of each truck. Do not know if Amtrak tracks direction of each piece of running stock for this even running..
 

GiantsFan

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Just look at france and their double deck TGV… it’s pretty much taken over the fleet because of the capacity advantage, and because platforms can only grow so much. They even run them in pairs!

Personally I’m a bit disappointed the third gen hi-level didn’t work out
 
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