Texas Central Railway

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VentureForth

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My guess is that there may be some tweaks needed (e.g. door width for US wheelchair standards). The "derivative" comment could also leave flexibility to adjust some elements of the seating plans (e.g. having a "full" Green car/Business Class car or moving said car to one end of the train), slip in a catering cart station, dispense with the smoking room, or otherwise adjust capacity. Ditching the smoking room is the most likely change, probably followed by a slight overall reduction in capacity and having a full Green/Business car at one end of the train rather than half a car in the middle.
I thought they got rid of the smoking rooms in Japan. Maybe not... There ARE conductor rooms which Amtrak needs to figure out how to use instead of manspreading in the Cafe. The Cafe carts is a good idea to keep, and vending machines. I would also expect them to go 2x2 seating rather than keep the 2x2. The phone booths can probably be reimagined, too.

No current diners on any of the shinkansen as far as I know. Don't think they will be needed for less than 3 hours as long as ample onboard snacks are available.
 
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No current diners on any of the shinkansen as far as I know. Don't think they will be needed for less than 3 hours as long as ample onboard snacks are available.
The Texas train full route is only 90 minutes…shorter than some commuter trains, so food service shouldn’t be a concern…
 

AlamoWye

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Well, their website does mention this in the "Joy of the Journey" section: "Choice of service levels, with quiet, work-friendly cabins and food and beverage options to fit your needs and budget."
 

George Harris

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The Shinkansen sets as built for Taiwan were 12 car sets with one car having ADA compliant width doors.
Maybe no diners, but snacks, coffee, tea, for sure.
I am sure VentureForth was trying to say 2x2 versus 2x3. The 2x3 wasn't that bad for this 220 pound American, but then when I experienced it I had been in Asia for several years so was used to the way things were there.
 

George Harris

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Shinkansen Body Width: 3380 mm = 11'-1", or if you want to be picky, 133.071 inches = 11'-1 1/16"
Superliner Body Width: 10'-2"
Standard Bus Body Width: 8'-6"
(AAR Clearance Outline: 10'-8")
So, the Shinkansen is 2'-7" wider than a bus, and 11 inches wider than a Superliner. This is why 3-2 is not really that tight on a Shinkansen. If we go 2-2, that should handle a carload of 300 pounders.

Here are the ADA platform offset requirements:
49 CFR § 38.93 (d)
(1) Requirements. Cars operating in stations with high platforms, or mini-high platforms, shall be coordinated with the boarding platform design such that the horizontal gap between a car at rest and the platform shall be no greater than 3 inches and the height of the car floor shall be within plus or minus 5/8 inch of the platform height. Vertical alignment may be accomplished by car air suspension, platform lifts or other devices, or any combination.

Anybody doing design work better think: You do not DESIGN for a gap of 3 inches. Best design for a gap of around 2 1/2 inches and vertical difference zero, or maybe platform 1/4 inch low, but no more. Notice that if you do a 2 1/2 inch gap, add to a Shinkansen half width of 5'-6 1/2" you have a 5'-9" inch offset, which clears a AAR standard width vehicle by 5 inches. Not lavish, but enough. A smart designer will have a taper to something like a 6'-6" offset over the last 5 to 10 feet on each end of the platform, which should be beyond any passenger door.
 

Bob Dylan

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Shinkansen Body Width: 3380 mm = 11'-1", or if you want to be picky, 133.071 inches = 11'-1 1/16"
Superliner Body Width: 10'-2"
Standard Bus Body Width: 8'-6"
(AAR Clearance Outline: 10'-8")
So, the Shinkansen is 2'-7" wider than a bus, and 11 inches wider than a Superliner. This is why 3-2 is not really that tight on a Shinkansen. If we go 2-2, that should handle a carload of 300 pounders.

Here are the ADA platform offset requirements:
49 CFR § 38.93 (d)
(1) Requirements. Cars operating in stations with high platforms, or mini-high platforms, shall be coordinated with the boarding platform design such that the horizontal gap between a car at rest and the platform shall be no greater than 3 inches and the height of the car floor shall be within plus or minus 5/8 inch of the platform height. Vertical alignment may be accomplished by car air suspension, platform lifts or other devices, or any combination.

Anybody doing design work better think: You do not DESIGN for a gap of 3 inches. Best design for a gap of around 2 1/2 inches and vertical difference zero, or maybe platform 1/4 inch low, but no more. Notice that if you do a 2 1/2 inch gap, add to a Shinkansen half width of 5'-6 1/2" you have a 5'-9" inch offset, which clears a AAR standard width vehicle by 5 inches. Not lavish, but enough. A smart designer will have a taper to something like a 6'-6" offset over the last 5 to 10 feet on each end of the platform, which should be beyond any passenger door.
Good info from a Real Pro! Thanks George.
 

me_little_me

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Well, their website does mention this in the "Joy of the Journey" section: "Choice of service levels, with quiet, work-friendly cabins and food and beverage options to fit your needs and budget."
Likely it would be similar to what is offered on Brightline.
 

George Harris

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One other thought on the N700: Even though 5 inches wider than the AAR standard, it should be able to go anywhere on the US railroad system outside the Northeast, where it seems that many facilities were designed based on trying to "shrink wrap" the equipment of 100+ years ago. For most of the system track centers are 13'-0" or greater, and that is for lines built in the late 1800's. The standard used for the last 50+ years is to have tracks spaced at 14'-0" centers or larger. The the space to a fixed object adjacent to the track has been 8'-0" for the last 60+years and prevails almost everywhere outside the northeast, and is currently 9'-0"
 

Anderson

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Likely it would be similar to what is offered on Brightline.
Which is a snack cart (with folks in Select getting more pass-throughs and not having to pay). The main thing would be needing to design storage for said carts.

Also, there's a very good chance that Texas Central will have access-controlled platforms, so in all likelihood there won't be nearly as much ticket-checking work for the conductors (even if I expect that the "system" for Texas Central will likely be a bit more than 2-3 stations...my guess is that even if they don't expand beyond the general Houston-Dallas market, you're looking at 5-8 stops all told...the three currently indicated [Dallas/Downtown, the intermediate stop, and then Houston/Beltway], a Dallas/Beltway station, either a Houston/Downtown extension (I think there will be some pressure for this), and possibly something further out in the Houston metro area, and then the distinct possibility of serving Love Field, Fort Worth, or somewhere else in the Dallas area. Another one or two intermediate stops might also happen (I suspect that a sufficiently ambitious developer could probably pay enough for a stop to go in right by a few hundred acres they've bought for a 50-mile-out-of-town TOD).

Do remember, not all trains need to make all stops, and a Hikari/Nozomi/Kodama service model makes some sense.
 

cirdan

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I thought they got rid of the smoking rooms in Japan. Maybe not... There ARE conductor rooms which Amtrak needs to figure out how to use instead of manspreading in the Cafe.
I don't know how they do it in Japan but i don't generally like the idea of staff vanishing off into some private area. They need to be visible to be approachable, especially in a situation where there will be many first-time rail travelers who might have questions or needs.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Ditching the smoking room is the most likely change, probably followed by a slight overall reduction in capacity and having a full Green/Business car at one end of the train rather than half a car in the middle.
I believe the smoking rooms were removed in preparation for the Olympics.

No current diners on any of the shinkansen as far as I know. Don't think they will be needed for less than 3 hours as long as ample onboard snacks are available.
In Japan most trains do not carry much if any food but passengers have meal and drink options at larger stations across each route.

Didn't know that. It does sound tight for an intercity train.
It may sound uncomfortable but I found it fine as implemented. Adding at least one car with fewer seats and extra leg room would be wise though.

I don't know how they do it in Japan but i don't generally like the idea of staff vanishing off into some private area. They need to be visible to be approachable, especially in a situation where there will be many first-time rail travelers who might have questions or needs.
Japan has some of the best service staff I’ve ever seen but these trains will be staffed by Americans so it will probably be similar to US airlines.

manspreading is horrible.
Manspreading on unreserved trains is horrible
manspreading in lounge/cafe
manspreading in the Cafe.
Is this really the best way to go about making your case?
 
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MARC Rider

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In reference to complaints about "manspreading" by staff in the cafe cars:

Is this really the best way to go about making your case?
I have to agree with the comment. In any event, I have observed that the train staff who take up space allocated for passengers in the cafe cars are about equally divided between male and female staff.
 

Anderson

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I don't know how they do it in Japan but i don't generally like the idea of staff vanishing off into some private area. They need to be visible to be approachable, especially in a situation where there will be many first-time rail travelers who might have questions or needs.
I think there's a balance. The point, IMO, is that the staff have a "You go here, not there" space (both for reasons such as not losing seating in the cafe and so pax know where they can find someone). Whether that is an "office", seat 60 in the Business Class car, or Table 16 in the lounge car, it should at least be clear where to find them.
 

v v

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What's "manspreading"? All sorts of images spring to mind, some not attractive at all...
 

Devil's Advocate

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What's "manspreading"? All sorts of images spring to mind, some not attractive at all...
Some Amtrak staff do stake out and use up areas intended for passengers and it can be a problem when the train is full but staff of both sexes do this and turning it into yet another gender war is a poor way to go about fixing it IMO.
 
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MARC Rider

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I don't know how they do it in Japan but i don't generally like the idea of staff vanishing off into some private area. They need to be visible to be approachable, especially in a situation where there will be many first-time rail travelers who might have questions or needs.
In addition to answering questions from first-time rail travelers, members of the train crew have other duties that might be better done without interruption from passengers. A conductor can go off and do paperwork, and the assistant conductor is still on hand for dealing with passengers. Even cafe attendants, who are, after all, service workers, not servants, sometimes need to do stuff like inventory and balancing accounts without interruption. Obviously, that sort of work should be done at times when they don't need to interact with the passengers.
 

v v

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Some Amtrak staff do stake out and use up areas intended for passengers and it can be a problem when the train is full but staff of both sexes do this and turning it into yet another gender war is a poor way to go about fixing it IMO.
Phew, thanks DA, have seen that too and not always a good look. But that's a lot better than some of the images I conjoured up!
 
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Shinkansen Body Width: 3380 mm = 11'-1", or if you want to be picky, 133.071 inches = 11'-1 1/16"
Superliner Body Width: 10'-2"
Standard Bus Body Width: 8'-6"
(AAR Clearance Outline: 10'-8")
So, the Shinkansen is 2'-7" wider than a bus, and 11 inches wider than a Superliner. This is why 3-2 is not really that tight on a Shinkansen. If we go 2-2, that should handle a carload of 300 pounders.

Here are the ADA platform offset requirements:
49 CFR § 38.93 (d)
(1) Requirements. Cars operating in stations with high platforms, or mini-high platforms, shall be coordinated with the boarding platform design such that the horizontal gap between a car at rest and the platform shall be no greater than 3 inches and the height of the car floor shall be within plus or minus 5/8 inch of the platform height. Vertical alignment may be accomplished by car air suspension, platform lifts or other devices, or any combination.

Anybody doing design work better think: You do not DESIGN for a gap of 3 inches. Best design for a gap of around 2 1/2 inches and vertical difference zero, or maybe platform 1/4 inch low, but no more. Notice that if you do a 2 1/2 inch gap, add to a Shinkansen half width of 5'-6 1/2" you have a 5'-9" inch offset, which clears a AAR standard width vehicle by 5 inches. Not lavish, but enough. A smart designer will have a taper to something like a 6'-6" offset over the last 5 to 10 feet on each end of the platform, which should be beyond any passenger door.
You can add the Amfleet and Horizon 10'-6" width to that list. At least at the "belt line". The width at the high level platform level is the former standard 10'. The Amfleet carbody curves in, and the Horizon's have a "notch" to allow more platform clearance. The Horizon's were derived from commuter cars of different types, but often have 3-2 commuter seating...
 

VentureForth

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It means taking up more than your fair share of space for whatever reason. I guess it does have a gender connotation, but I've heard it used for all genders. Point is, as been appropriate responded to, the Cafe car in an Amtrak train should be a place for passengers to congregate. Not a place for the crew to take up 25% of the seating for their paperwork.

So a couple of points. Generally people in Japan never seen to ever need assistance from a conductor. A conductor is not a customer service person. He's (sorry, not sorry, - THEY) are a purser and integral to the operation of the train. If one needs assistance, they can simply knock on the door of the frosted window, private conductor's room when necessary, as I needed to once, to report some sort of malfunction on the train.

Some of the Shinkansen and some of the long distance limited express trains still offer trolley cart food service, but you're right. Most people get their food and drink from a kiosk or platform restaurant at the station. I think we can all agree that dining and cafe cars on short duration trips reduce revenue seating. I would expect vending machines and/or trolley cart service on the Texas route would be ample and revenue positive.
 

joelkfla

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Likely it would be similar to what is offered on Brightline.
Which is a snack cart (with folks in Select getting more pass-throughs and not having to pay). The main thing would be needing to design storage for said carts.
IIRC, someone said somewhere that the 2nd part of Brightline's car order (now in production for the Orlando segment) includes some sort of food service car. I don't have any further details.
 
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