Long Distance (LD) fleet replacement discussion (2022-23)

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In reading through this thread I would say the decision on purchasing single level or two level cars would be based on who could manufacture them. If the entire Western LD system is forced to go single level; Amtrak would lose much capacity (and revenue) on the sleeper cars. An example of this would be the Superliner with 7 bedrooms (1 H) and 14 roomettes as opposed to the Viewliners with only three bedrooms (1H) and 12 roomettes. That's a substantial difference.

There are plenty of manufacturers that could manufacture bilevel cars. In fact an order as large as Amtrak will make (likely 400-500) would justify companies without an existing platform developing one. Alstom and Stadler are the most capable at the moment in my opinion. Amtrak orders enough equipment that they seem to drive markets more than rely on them.

Amtrak could make up for the loss of capacity with longer trains and/or running a 2nd section on each LD route.

Many platforms are already too short as it is. Plus bilevel cars offer a massive level of flexibility. Superliners can have a full width areas that don't impede movement between cars (Cafe, larger Restroom/lounge, etc). I see having a wheelchair lift as less of a hassle then re-configuring so many platforms and making car layouts less efficient.
 

Mailliw

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Finland and Russia have some pretth cool bilevel sleepers and I agree that bilevel cars offer more flexible layouts and more space, but if the goal is to allow wheelchair users to move both from one car to another while the train is in motion that will negate alot of the extra space. Every sleeping car and coach car would need an passenger rated elevator that Amtrak would have to maintain. This would also preclude bilevel designs that have the vestibule between cars on a mezzanine between the upper and lower levels (which would be a huge advantage to you want to mix single and bilevel cars in the same trainset).
 

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Finland and Russia have some pretth cool bilevel sleepers and I agree that bilevel cars offer more flexible layouts and more space, but if the goal is to allow wheelchair users to move both from one car to another while the train is in motion that will negate alot of the extra space. Every sleeping car and coach car would need an passenger rated elevator that Amtrak would have to maintain. This would also preclude bilevel designs that have the vestibule between cars on a mezzanine between the upper and lower levels (which would be a huge advantage to you want to mix single and bilevel cars in the same trainset).
not every car would need them if you kept the walkway on the upper floor, only a few would
 

Caesar La Rock

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not every car would need them if you kept the walkway on the upper floor, only a few would

I've always wondered if a bi level design is selected, do all the cars need an elevator or just certain cars need one to meet the ADA requirements? Also something I think should be considered a possibility, is the chance that if a bi-level design is selected, that the car could be slightly longer then the current Superliners. That could allow room for an elevator to be installed. There are 89ft passenger cars running around in the US after all, something to take note of.
 

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I've always wondered if a bi level design is selected, do all the cars need an elevator or just certain cars need one to meet the ADA requirements? Also something I think should be considered a possibility, is the chance that if a bi-level design is selected, that the car could be slightly longer then the current Superliners. That could allow room for an elevator to be installed.
As long as they can walk though the top level and everything is there I don't see why that would be an issue however ADA isn't what I'd call clear.

they could make truck centers at 64-66ft over the current 59-60ft which would allow the cars to grow to 90ft but I'm not sure they can go much longer.
 

Caesar La Rock

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As long as they can walk though the top level and everything is there I don't see why that would be an issue however ADA isn't what I'd call clear.

they could make truck centers at 64-66ft over the current 59-60ft which would allow the cars to grow to 90ft but I'm not sure they can go much longer.

ADA indeed is very tricky. The door for an elevator must be 36 inches wide, the depth of the elevator car has to be 51 inches deep, and the width must be 68 inches for those of you who are curious. As for whether cars can go 90ft, I'm not sure to be honest. I assume 89 based on the fact that Rocky Mountaineer, TriMet, and TriRail (before their cars went into the witness protection) have passenger cars that are 89ft.
 
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I'm not familiar with ADA for transport (as in the vehicles) but my understanding of it would lead me to think/believe that each car would need an elevator/list as all public areas would require accessibility.
 

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ADA indeed is very tricky. The door for an elevator must be 36 inches wide, the depth of the elevator car has to be 51 inches deep, and the width must be 68 inches for those of you who are curious. As for whether cars can go 90ft, I'm not sure to be honest. I assume 89 based on the fact that Rocky Mountaineer, TriMet, and TriRail (before their cars went into the witness protection) have passenger cars that are 89ft.
All of Colorado Rails' bi-level (and single level) DMU power and trailer cars including those used by TriMet and now retired due to poor reliability at TriRail are 85' long, not 89'. IIRC the power cars were used as unpowered cab cars at TriRail before retirement.


IIRC only the Ultra-domes used by Rocky Mountaineer and Alaska Railroad (for Cruise Lines) are 89' long and 18' tall.
 
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Asides from the dumb waiters used in Superliner dining cars, I am not aware of any train car that has an elevator on it. NJT and the Long Island RR run bilevel cars with no elevators. If ADA requires the use of elevators, then IMHO bilevel equipment is a non-starter. The elevators IMHO would not function well on moving trains traveling over tracks that are not always in the best condition.
 

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Asides from the dumb waiters used in Superliner dining cars, I am not aware of any train car that has an elevator on it. NJT and the Long Island RR run bilevel cars with no elevators. If ADA requires the use of elevators, then IMHO bilevel equipment is a non-starter. The elevators IMHO would not function well on moving trains traveling over tracks that are not always in the best condition.
The difference is that on Commuter trains there is no shared services served out of a single car on the train. So all that you have to provide is a toilet adjacent to the seating area for the Wheelchair bound and ability to get on and off at stations and you are pretty much done.
 

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Asides from the dumb waiters used in Superliner dining cars, I am not aware of any train car that has an elevator on it. NJT and the Long Island RR run bilevel cars with no elevators. If ADA requires the use of elevators, then IMHO bilevel equipment is a non-starter. The elevators IMHO would not function well on moving trains traveling over tracks that are not always in the best condition.
stadler has them in their Bi levels for the Rocky Mountaineer and that isn't the first deployment of them
 

frequentflyer

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Reading the last two pages of posts about how to meet the ADA requirements pretty much guarantees a single level replacement. The best we can hope for is the return of the full length dome that will be added to the Western LD trains and maybe Cap Ltd.

Lighter single level trains will then allow more single locomotive operation on LD trains. With the new locomotives computerized predictive maintenance plans, Amtrak will convince themselves its a good idea.
 

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I don’t think the final version of the new ADA regulations are quite in hand yet. I think there will be some amount of negotiation that will happen, resulting in a final practical version. Just my guess given there are so many issues floating around relative to LD equipment.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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Asides from the dumb waiters used in Superliner dining cars, I am not aware of any train car that has an elevator on it. NJT and the Long Island RR run bilevel cars with no elevators. If ADA requires the use of elevators, then IMHO bilevel equipment is a non-starter. The elevators IMHO would not function well on moving trains traveling over tracks that are not always in the best condition.
Though this one doesn’t look ADA compliant as it looks like you have to step over a short “barrier”. Upon further review (on my larger screen) I see the "barrier" starts to go down just before they move the camera up where you can't see the floor.

 
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Shanson

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I'm not certain how the transitions from car to car can be made ADA compliant for wheel chairs. Those joining plates (or whatever they are called) continually move up and down, even in single-level cars.







Oh wait, the freight railroads are eager to smooth out the track to accomodate passenger service. Aren't they??

/irony
 

John Santos

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I'm not certain how the transitions from car to car can be made ADA compliant for wheel chairs. Those joining plates (or whatever they are called) continually move up and down, even in single-level cars.







Oh wait, the freight railroads are eager to smooth out the track to accomodate passenger service. Aren't they??

/irony
It is important that the floors be flat, not necessarily level. (Otherwise, wheelchair ramps couldn't exist!)

On some trains, the plates pivot up and down so the end of one car is even with the beginning of the next car, even when the plates have to tilt some to do it, so there is never any step or other barrier. I'm pretty sure the Acelas do that, and I think this is true of older trains as well. The plates are constantly moving up and down, especially on hills and bumpy tracks, so rolling across them isn't trivial, but there is no insurmountable ledge.

And yes, of course, the freight railroads are always trying to improve the passenger experience! /s
 

Caesar La Rock

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So Trains posted this article.

 

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So, my thinking has been that the LD trains should be standardized into one or two "types" (something in the 9-11 car range and something in the 13-16 car range for the respective types [1]). This would allow the LD order to "simply" be a bunch of trainsets.

Now, this leads to a complication with the two "split" trains (the LSL and the EB). My thinking is that both should simply be made into two trains (one going to each endpoint) so as not to have to deal with splitting trains. I'd add the proposed North Coast Hiawatha, Sunset East service, and a daily Cardinal/Sunset to the plan - all four have had consistent political pressure to do happen, and in most cases the studies seem to say that the numbers work. IIRC this would come to something like 66-70 sets plus spares (so probably about 80-85 sets, ignoring the Auto Train both as sui generis for now and as something that could be run with displaced Superliners for another decade or two if need be).

[1] My thinking is roughly as follows:
Short: 1 bag, 3-4 coaches, 2 food service cars, 3 sleepers
Long: 1 bag, 4-6 coaches, 2 food service cars, 1 sleeper-lounge*, 4-5 sleepers, 1 dorm
*I'm thinking that this would have 1-2 premium bedrooms and the rest of the space would be a lounge which could partly be used for dining overflow. Allowing for coach pax "buying in", a single single-level diner starts to "max out" around three sleepers, but having a half-dozen tables a la the PPC would move this threshold up by about two sleepers (two full seatings in there would correspond to 48 pax).
 

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