Should America pursuit extra-wide trains (wider than 10 ft 6 inches)

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WWW

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Amtrak wouldn't have to go far to find the cars for this crazy nut-job idea - go to an aircraft boneyard and simply put DC9 MD80-88 MD90 aircraft
on wheels and voila mission accomplished creature comfort not withstanding as it was on those airplanes.
This covid virus is doing one good thing - keeping spacing and comfort distancing manageable !
 
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This has been proposed before. The Breitspurbahn would've have luxurious facilities such as saunas and swimming pools for 3 classes of passengers, crew dorms, cargo facilities for mail & automobiles, anti- aircraft guns, a kennel, and slave transport car. So basically Snowpiercer without the new ice age.
Hi 'Mailliw' ~ I'm not sure what a "Snowpiercer without the new ice age" is but, I appreciate your thoughts anyway? As you must know, I'm new on here and I'm glad I was able to finally express my thoughts on possible newer rail equipment that has been on my mind for several years; and finally, I've 'put them out there' for other rail fans to ponder and chew on.
 
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Someone's been up late watching reruns....🤣

Hey "Railiner" Thanks for bringing up "SuperTrain" which I watched when it was on TV. I recall Steve Lawrence talking about the show (he was a guest performer in one of the segments) and saying, "If there was a train like that running in America, people WOULD ride it!! I remember the rear open deck as a few of the scenes were filmed there. Except for the possible WIND getting into everything, that space would be a big draw in comfortable weather. Lol.
P.S. I just watched the episode I think you offered up (with Steve Lawrence) and what a terribly poorly written show!! All the negative characters in what is supposed to be "The Inaugural Run" of SuperTrain. It was poorly scripted & directed. It made me remember why I stopped watching it, lol. I wouldn't expect a 'wide-bodied' Amtrak train to have a swimming pool or steam room on board anyway.
 
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Amtrak wouldn't have to go far to find the cars for this crazy nut-job idea - go to an aircraft boneyard and simply put DC9 MD80-88 MD90 aircraft
on wheels and voila mission accomplished creature comfort not withstanding as it was on those airplanes.
This covid virus is doing one good thing - keeping spacing and comfort distancing manageable !
Hi "WWW" ~ I see you're an attendant (on the train?) If so, then you know how much walking you do during a typical days work. With a 20' wide 'cabin' Amtrak might need to hire 2 attendants per car to attend to all the passengers. I don't think using scraped airplane fuselages for a train body is a sound idea. I'd rather SIEMENS built them since they do build very good rail equipment now in several markets.
 

ehbowen

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Back about 45 years ago John Kneiling (Trains, "The Professional Iconoclast") made a proposal to increase the track gauge to 14 feet...by using existing double track! (Where it still existed, of course.) The extra wide cars would span a pair of tracks, with bogies in pairs with equalizers between to compensate for misalignment. Sidings would also have to be double-tracked, and obstacles like platforms and signal masts relocated. He figured that freight trains could be built to carry containers three abreast, and passenger trains would be wide enough that there could be "auto bays" on the lower level which could carry a half-dozen or so automobiles loaded crossways while passengers rode on the upper level. Interesting proposal, although an experienced railroad civil engineer of my acquaintance called it a pipe dream. Nothing ever happened with it, of course.
 
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Back about 45 years ago John Kneiling (Trains, "The Professional Iconoclast") made a proposal to increase the track gauge to 14 feet...by using existing double track! (Where it still existed, of course.) The extra wide cars would span a pair of tracks, with bogies in pairs with equalizers between to compensate for misalignment. Sidings would also have to be double-tracked, and obstacles like platforms and signal masts relocated. He figured that freight trains could be built to carry containers three abreast, and passenger trains would be wide enough that there could be "auto bays" on the lower level which could carry a half-dozen or so automobiles loaded crossways while passengers rode on the upper level. Interesting proposal, although an experienced railroad civil engineer of my acquaintance called it a pipe dream. Nothing ever happened with it, of course.
Thanks "Ehbowen" for your thoughtful words. When I was growing up, steam trains were still in operation. The Super Chief was an icon. When the El Capitan was introduced and put on public display not too far from our home, my mother took me to see it. We were seated on the upper deck when a train next to us started to move. We thought the El Cap was moving! Wasn't that the first 'Hi-Level' train? From that to the Super-Liner which is slightly larger. So, what's next? Maybe my idea for a 20' wide train body is outrageous but, in 1951 the Super-Liner would have been thought of in that same way.
 

ehbowen

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Thanks "Ehbowen" for your thoughtful words. When I was growing up, steam trains were still in operation. The Super Chief was an icon. When the El Capitan was introduced and put on public display not too far from our home, my mother took me to see it. We were seated on the upper deck when a train next to us started to move. We thought the El Cap was moving! Wasn't that the first 'Hi-Level' train? From that to the Super-Liner which is slightly larger. So, what's next? Maybe my idea for a 20' wide train body is outrageous but, in 1951 the Super-Liner would have been thought of in that same way.
Jack, that was before my time personally, but I understand that double-deck cars had been in use in commuter services for several years before the "Hi-Level El Capitan"...the first long-distance train to use the concept...was introduced. And the Santa Fe system had been built "high and wide" since the early days; it was one of the railroads which transported the 200 inch Hale Telescope mirror (in one piece, of course!) from the Corning Glass Works in New York to the Palomar Observatory in southern California. (I believe, but am not certain, that one of the others was the formerly broad-gauge Erie). Not extremely radical to plan a car profile to take advantage of those clearances. At least, not in the same league as a 20+ foot wide generation of rolling stock!
 

railiner

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Jack Davis, welcome to the AU forum! :)

You'll find a lot of like-minded dreamer's here, to share your interesting proposal's with. Also an equal number of critic's.

BTW, the 'Title's' under our names are not (necessarliy) our occupation....they are just 'honorary' titles bestowed upon us by AU, based on the number of posts we have made.
 

cocojacoby

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P.S. I just watched the episode I think you offered up (with Steve Lawrence) and what a terribly poorly written show!! All the negative characters in what is supposed to be "The Inaugural Run" of SuperTrain. It was poorly scripted & directed. It made me remember why I stopped watching it, lol.
I do believe it was created because of the success of the "Love Boat" show. If that nautical show was successful then let's just do it on a train. How could we fail?
 

WWW

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Hi "WWW" ~ I see you're an attendant (on the train?) If so, then you know how much walking you do during a typical days work. With a 20' wide 'cabin' Amtrak might need to hire 2 attendants per car to attend to all the passengers. I don't think using scraped airplane fuselages for a train body is a sound idea. I'd rather SIEMENS built them since they do build very good rail equipment now in several markets.
Jack welcome to the ole merry roundhouse of railroading "Attendant" read railiner's comment #34 in this thread.

Regarding my comment using using old retired aircraft frames for passenger carriages on any railroad tracks is
like throwing blindfolded darts at a revolving pin~anta. Something found in a bad Hollywood "B" movie.

Wide bodied train cars - tri-level coaches - a new found level of distance spacing in the tracks tunnels and bridge space
would be necessary in order to implement this fantasy.
With high speed rail these features would not make sense - travel time too short to justify its use !
 

jis

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We can't even fund development of standard gauge system with electrification, and someone actually seriously thinks that an entirely new network with a new wide gauge will be developed? Frankly people would do Maglev and Hyperloop before they'll do wide gauge. Nobody will be able to justify a railroad purely for running cruise service in this day and age. We will be lucky if the current LD network will survive in its present form.
 
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Jack welcome to the ole merry roundhouse of railroading "Attendant" read railiner's comment #34 in this thread.

Regarding my comment using using old retired aircraft frames for passenger carriages on any railroad tracks is
like throwing blindfolded darts at a revolving pin~anta. Something found in a bad Hollywood "B" movie.

Wide bodied train cars - tri-level coaches - a new found level of distance spacing in the tracks tunnels and bridge space
would be necessary in order to implement this fantasy.
With high speed rail these features would not make sense - travel time too short to justify its use !
I like your thinking but, I may have confused some with my comments that the 'wide train' would also be 'high speed.' Not at all. If such a plan came to be, the big train would/should have its own right of way with tunnels, etc to accommodate it. The speed I'd care to see would be around 140 mph on the wide open plains of some states, less than that in other terrain. Since each car could 'hold more' passengers, the consist wouldn't have to be as long as 'single wide' trains are.
However, before any of this might happen; Elon Musk does have his 'Vacuum Tube" transporter (which has been tested) and is calculated to 'move people from L.A. to San Francisco in about a half hour ~ give or take. If hi got into the transportation business of moving people (and he has in Las Vegas at the Convention Center) to far away places, look out!
 

John Bredin

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Elon Musk does have his 'Vacuum Tube" transporter (which has been tested) and is calculated to 'move people from L.A. to San Francisco in about a half hour ~ give or take. If hi got into the transportation business of moving people (and he has in Las Vegas at the Convention Center) to far away places, look out!
Musk has a dread of trains and public transportation, so all his surface transportation plans involve low-capacity capsules, electric cars, or non-electric cars on sleds rather than proper railcars where you can stand up and move around. The Hyperloop capsules would be miniscule and claustrophobic, and the passenger-carrying capacity of an intercity Hyperloop line would be a fraction of a real high-speed rail line.

In Las Vegas, Musk is literally just using Tesla sedans in the tunnel, with drivers! Even if the drivers get eliminated (if a tunnel isn't an appropriate place for driverless cars, what is?🤔) a fleet of five-seater cars is pretty d*mned low-capacity when a convention lets out. Contrast a fleet of sedans with the peoplemovers used at airports (like AirTrain, not moving walkways), where you can walk aboard pulling your luggage behind you, stand up straight, and walk off at the end. The latter is well-designed for the rapid flow of passengers, the former is not.

Musk's plans and proposals are the precise opposite of extra-wide trains. Musk talks a lot about pods in transportation for the same reason that Covid countermeasures talk about figurative pods: other people are icky and must be avoided. :)
 
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TrackWalker

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This has been proposed before. The Breitspurbahn would've have luxurious facilities such as saunas and swimming pools for 3 classes of passengers, crew dorms, cargo facilities for mail & automobiles, anti- aircraft guns, a kennel, and slave transport car. So basically Snowpiercer without the new ice age.
I wondered how long it would take before both of these references would show up in a thread at AU. 👍
 

Siegmund

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I wondered how long it would take before both of these references would show up in a thread at AU. 👍
It could have been worse. We could have gone straight to the nuclear-powered Superchief, able to launch small planes from the roof, from Patrick Tilley's Amtrak Wars. I admit that was the first place my mind went with talk of 20-foot-wide trains (though Tilley's units ran on abandoned highways, not on super-broad-gauge rails.)
 

Seaboard92

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Hi "WWW" ~ I see you're an attendant (on the train?) If so, then you know how much walking you do during a typical days work. With a 20' wide 'cabin' Amtrak might need to hire 2 attendants per car to attend to all the passengers. I don't think using scraped airplane fuselages for a train body is a sound idea. I'd rather SIEMENS built them since they do build very good rail equipment now in several markets.
I can answer this better as someone who has been everything from a Coach Attendant to a Sous Chef on a passenger train.

When I worked on the Virginia Museum of Transportation trips in the onboard mechanical crew I was averaging about 19-20 miles a day according to my pedometer. Now that was more than my coach attendant days where I am at about 6 Miles in a shift. But I'm also a lot more active than the average one because I'm always interacting with my passengers, cleaning, or doing something else productive.

Amtrak assigns one attendant for every 1.5 or 2 cars on the Silvers. So in your 20 foot cabin you could do with 1 probably. Most coach passengers don't need a lot of service. It's the sleepers that are more crew heavy.

Now you couldn't get a 20' cabin.

But what I would like to see is that we get the new Russian Built Bi-Level Design. Each sleeper sleeps 64 passengers, they have a large ADA style door to the outside, a large ADA style room on each car. And all around a really good design. I don't know the exact measurements though I would need to ask Jura when he wakes up.
 
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I can answer this better as someone who has been everything from a Coach Attendant to a Sous Chef on a passenger train.

When I worked on the Virginia Museum of Transportation trips in the onboard mechanical crew I was averaging about 19-20 miles a day according to my pedometer. Now that was more than my coach attendant days where I am at about 6 Miles in a shift. But I'm also a lot more active than the average one because I'm always interacting with my passengers, cleaning, or doing something else productive.

Amtrak assigns one attendant for every 1.5 or 2 cars on the Silvers. So in your 20 foot cabin you could do with 1 probably. Most coach passengers don't need a lot of service. It's the sleepers that are more crew heavy.

Now you couldn't get a 20' cabin.

But what I would like to see is that we get the new Russian Built Bi-Level Design. Each sleeper sleeps 64 passengers, they have a large ADA style door to the outside, a large ADA style room on each car. And all around a really good design. I don't know the exact measurements though I would need to ask Jura when he wakes up.
Thank you "Seaboard92" for your thoughtful remarks. However, where you said, "Now you couldn't get a 20' cabin" what did you mean exactly? In my 'story' I said "In the Sleeper Cars, remarkable deluxe 'suites' on both sides of a wider center aisle in these Pullman cars." As I think about those dimensions, I'm realizing the 'suites' would probably be about the same hall to window length as they are now but, with them on both sides, they could be wider (front to rear) since there are almost twice as many in one car as before. Of course, if somebody in planning wanted to put the aisle on one side say, for half the car length to make bigger 'cabins' they would/could be roughly 17' deep. If the aisle were 3' wide (for easy passing another) that would leave about 17' to design a wonderful spacious cabin for the elite folks. Hummmmm, maybe I just answered my own question. Cheers, Jack.
 
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We can't even fund development of standard gauge system with electrification, and someone actually seriously thinks that an entirely new network with a new wide gauge will be developed? Frankly people would do Maglev and Hyperloop before they'll do wide gauge. Nobody will be able to justify a railroad purely for running cruise service in this day and age. We will be lucky if the current LD network will survive in its present form.
I have to say you make some good points here knocking my wide gauge train idea. Maybe it should have been thought of in the 1940's (after WWII) for a 1950's intro when the railroads were independent, not gov't controlled.
 

railiner

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I have to say you make some good points here knocking my wide gauge train idea. Maybe it should have been thought of in the 1940's (after WWII) for a 1950's intro when the railroads were independent, not gov't controlled.
In some ways, railroads were controlled even more in the '50's by the government during the ICC era, than they are today. But anyway, in case you missed it, here is one person's explanation of why our railroads standard guage is what it is....

 

coventry801

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I don't know how difficult it would be for the host railroads to run another passenger train, but I figure it would require a carrot and stick approach. More compensation for each train and some form of legal enforcement if they delay Amtrak too frequently. Along with everything else in my post, it was more of a wish list rather than a call to arms.
I wasn't thinking of something as extravagant as the NBS, more in the line of looking at where the most delays due to traffic occur and sharing the expense between Amtrak and the host railroad to double or triple track that section. One of the problems with this is the increasingly long trains that the host railroads are using.
On the diner part I was talking about the relatively new VLII Diners, 68000 through 68024. They have a hot production line if they want more, too. It is incredibly slow, but they are actually delivering cars.
Yeah, both the Pioneer and the North Coast Hiawatha are dreams more than real goals, but those communities could really use the service back. I think 300 to 500 mile corridor trains make more sense than a 2200+ mile NCH. Having an 800+ mile long Pioneer that went from Seattle and Salt Lake City might work with state subsidies, but the 1300+ mile Seattle to Denver route would be better but it would be even more difficult to make it work.
Again, more of a wish list than an appraisal of what I think we will see, but it would allow Amtrak to serve more communities and to so so in a way that makes the network stronger. But the lack of long term funding and the increasing levels of freight traffic make it a difficult wish list to see delivered.
I think adding a second daily route to either the Empire Builder or the California Zephyr are the least unreasonable to work towards since they are trains that have a single frequency per day and both have ridership over 400,000 people per year and have been higher in the recent past. Start with more sleepers on existing trains and hopefully work up to a second daily train.
Would be great to have 2nd daily with some different branch route.

E.g. new LAX- SLC - CHI service with SLC-CHI section 12 hours opposite with CZ, New SEA - BFD - LAX- SAN service with SEA-SAC section 12 hours opposite with current CS, etc.
 
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