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Would Viewliners like these be possible (Or even Useful)?

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MARC Rider

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The design of European and Japanese double trains feature easy up and down stairs at entrance points making boarding with luggage far easier.

View attachment 20086
Well, sure, there are similar stairs on the MARC bi-levels (or tri-levels, I guess), but those are commuter cars, and a lot of revenue space will have to be sacrificed for the stairs.
I'm starting to find it a little hard to haul up luggage to the upper floors, and I quite often use the luggage racks on the lower level. And people with real disabilities have the Handicapped room on the lower level, or even a lower level roomette, so there really isn't a need to have accessible stairs on the Superliners.
 

20th Century Rider

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Does Amtrak need to have ADA bathrooms on each car, or is it sufficient to have adequate facilities on a certain percentage of cars?
I kind-a think that would depend upon general ADA rules and standards... as well as density of passengers in each car. Ingress and egress,,, and emergency exit are all a part of ADA design... simply a matter of having coach designers comply with such... as I believe most already do.
 

20th Century Rider

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If the economies of design permit single level coach development, single level is always better. Any and all struggle with getting luggage up and down those tight stairwells in the Superliners; and while ADA compliant for lower level access, single level design for long distance is just easier.

BTW... as Europe plans to expand it's overnight long haul rail program, they do have two level coaches... but the stairwells are split level from a single entrance point so one only needs half of the stairs; and this while conserving precious space.
 

jiml

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The design of European and Japanese double trains feature easy up and down stairs at entrance points making boarding with luggage far easier.

View attachment 20086
Easier to do on a coach as shown, more difficult in a "compartment" car such as a sleeper without sacrificing revenue space. Several years ago VIA looked at a proposal for modifying the then Hawker-Siddeley (now Bombardier) commuter cars that are seen all over North America into sleepers and diners. They have the type of stairs shown. There wasn't enough space left over to make it economically feasible IIRC. Drawings were out in the public domain at the time and may be in some history books.
 

20th Century Rider

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Easier to do on a coach as shown, more difficult in a "compartment" car such as a sleeper without sacrificing revenue space. Several years ago VIA looked at a proposal for modifying the then Hawker-Siddeley (now Bombardier) commuter cars that are seen all over North America into sleepers and diners. They have the type of stairs shown. There wasn't enough space left over to make it economically feasible IIRC. Drawings were out in the public domain at the time and may be in some history books.
The Japanese bi-level sleepers accomplish this with the split level stairwell at each end but I couldn't find a photo to show it. Did see it on a YouTube blog account.

Where there's a design challenge innovation can be impressive.
 

neroden

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Does Amtrak need to have ADA bathrooms on each car, or is it sufficient to have adequate facilities on a certain percentage of cars?
Every car with a bathroom must have an ADA bathroom. It's legal to have cars with no bathrooms at all.
 

neroden

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The design I'd like to see is a single-level Viewliner "observation-cafe". Take your cafe design, add a glass roof, and open some space up to lounge chairs, basically.

Some design points: Viewliners generally only have a single vestibule with exterior doors, and a cafe certainly doesn't need two. It could be designed with zero bathrooms, given that the coaches and sleepers will all have bathrooms. This opens up some space. I'd have this layout:

vestibule - tables - cafe service - lounge - end windows (with door to possible next car). Double windows and glass roof panels at the tables, double windows on the passageway side of the cafe, double windows and glass roof at the lounge end.

So: this would replace the Amfleet and Horizon cafes, act as an attractive observation car, be better when placed as an end car but still perfectly usable as a middle-of-train car, and would provide overflow seating for overbooking. Does what it needs to do.
 

Barb Stout

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Yes yes yes! Would like to see Amtrak do something more creative with end cars.

And why is it that we're always looking backwards when it comes to passenger car design evolution? Newer designs are complete disasters... if not extremely uncomfortable.

Hey! And have you seen how passengers must struggle to get luggage up and down those stairwells in the superliners? In my opinion the superliners have inferior design. 🤮


View attachment 20081
I'm remembering a luggage rack at the bottom of those steep steps. Am I wrong?
 

Dakota 400

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I'm starting to find it a little hard to haul up luggage to the upper floors,
I am not "starting to find" doing so. It IS very difficult for me to do so. That's the reason I book a Roomette on the lower level of the sleeper. Those stairs prevent me from spending more money at the Bar in the SSL car. Trying to negotiate those stairs holding a drink on a moving train....👎
 

sttom

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I suspect one has to sacrifice 4 Roomettes or Section bays to get an ADA Bedroom with attached toilet. In effect one has to sacrifice 6 beds net.
How many rooms and/or sections that would need to be sacrificed for ADA compliance would depend on whether or not a "section" qualifies as a room or as a seat. The rules for each are slightly different. A room must have an ensuite ADA bathroom, whereas a seat just needs to be next to an ADA compliant bathroom. As for which one a "section" would qualify as would need legal consultation seeing as how we don't have any in regular service anymore in the US built after ADA.

Based on the attached picture, I'd imagine you'd lose at least 4 beds to convert the seat into a bedroom reducing the bed capacity from 36 to 32. And my best guess is you could get 30 lie flat seats in a single level car. Losing 2 more beds to be in vouge may be worth it over cramming a few extra people into the train. Considering 2 people would only lose about 6% of potential revenue, not factoring in fare buckets.

Does Amtrak need to have ADA bathrooms on each car, or is it sufficient to have adequate facilities on a certain percentage of cars?
All cars that have bathrooms must have an accessible bathroom. And I believe all cars with revenue space must have at least 1 spot for a wheel chair.
 

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Barb Stout

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Yes yes yes! Would like to see Amtrak do something more creative with end cars.

And why is it that we're always looking backwards when it comes to passenger car design evolution? Newer designs are complete disasters... if not extremely uncomfortable.

Hey! And have you seen how passengers must struggle to get luggage up and down those stairwells in the superliners? In my opinion the superliners have inferior design. 🤮


View attachment 20081
However, these stairs on the Superliner have exercise potential. My sister would go bonkers if she couldn't exercise her legs during those long train trips. Both she and I (and I have seen other people doing this also) do various "circuits" of walking down cars and going up and down the steps to get the blood and air going/flowing.
 

20th Century Rider

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However, these stairs on the Superliner have exercise potential. My sister would go bonkers if she couldn't exercise her legs during those long train trips. Both she and I (and I have seen other people doing this also) do various "circuits" of walking down cars and going up and down the steps to get the blood and air going/flowing.
Definitely a good point... a chance to get the blood flowing on those long trips! 🤠
 

jpakala

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My wife & I do not care for rooms without lavatory & toilet facilities and enclosed ones unless traveling alone in the Pullman roomettes or duplex roomettes or duplex rooms of years past (or today's privately operated special cars).
 

WWW

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Ya just what you need in creature comforts S-P-I-R-I-A-L staircases or something out of a mad movie made in the Winchester
Mansion - 13 steps leading to the ceiling !
Elevators were installed in the Alaska RR bi-level cars although no sleeping accommodations - I don't know about how the
Rocky Mountaineer cars are made up - probably something on the same order.
Sleeping accommodations can be on both the lower level and upper levels of bi-level cars.
The observation and dining (if any #@&%*) can be like the Alaskan - Rocky Mt cars.

But if sacrificing a couple of sleeper roomettes for an elevator - sobeit that is the price of doing business -
if business is that great ADD more cars to the consist - quit being so darn cheap !
I have this feeling that Amtrak was destined to be like the the USPS a NOT FOR PROFIT organization !
Build it and they will come - building RR cars has to be fare less expensive than those tubular air machines -
There is a host of the 737 max tubular frames that could be converted (ya sick joke I know).
 

Willbridge

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Agreed. An all roomette car could be pretty versatile; they could even be used on non overnight routes as first class day rooms. You'd still need to include an ADA bedroom though.
The CN turned over 13 "I"-series all-roomette cars to VIA Rail. They had 24 roomettes. At Edmonton I only saw them being used as dorms. I think that all-roomette cars were primarily used on business-oriented routes. When single-type sleepers have been built the need has usually been for more bedrooms (UP and Superliners, for example).
 

Willbridge

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The design I'd like to see is a single-level Viewliner "observation-cafe". Take your cafe design, add a glass roof, and open some space up to lounge chairs, basically.

Some design points: Viewliners generally only have a single vestibule with exterior doors, and a cafe certainly doesn't need two. It could be designed with zero bathrooms, given that the coaches and sleepers will all have bathrooms. This opens up some space. I'd have this layout:

vestibule - tables - cafe service - lounge - end windows (with door to possible next car). Double windows and glass roof panels at the tables, double windows on the passageway side of the cafe, double windows and glass roof at the lounge end.

So: this would replace the Amfleet and Horizon cafes, act as an attractive observation car, be better when placed as an end car but still perfectly usable as a middle-of-train car, and would provide overflow seating for overbooking. Does what it needs to do.
This car would be fine as a division between classes. When I was a weekend regular on the Del Monte (Fort Ord<>San Francisco) they always had the parlor-lounge positioned at the end of the train so that coach passengers could pick up snacks and beverages without entering the parlor section.
 

Seaboard92

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The design I'd like to see is a single-level Viewliner "observation-cafe". Take your cafe design, add a glass roof, and open some space up to lounge chairs, basically.

Some design points: Viewliners generally only have a single vestibule with exterior doors, and a cafe certainly doesn't need two. It could be designed with zero bathrooms, given that the coaches and sleepers will all have bathrooms. This opens up some space. I'd have this layout:

vestibule - tables - cafe service - lounge - end windows (with door to possible next car). Double windows and glass roof panels at the tables, double windows on the passageway side of the cafe, double windows and glass roof at the lounge end.

So: this would replace the Amfleet and Horizon cafes, act as an attractive observation car, be better when placed as an end car but still perfectly usable as a middle-of-train car, and would provide overflow seating for overbooking. Does what it needs to do.
I love that idea the Seaboard Airline and Atlantic Coastline both had midtrain observation cars on their flagships when the train would split they would be observations. It's not unheard of and I believe several have been preserved. I know my friend John Owen has one of them.

For everyone commenting about a luggage elevator that also is not quite unheard of but not in a bi-level car. The Southern Pacific on some of their flagships like the Shasta Daylight had a door on the outside of each coach where one could load your baggage from the platform that the porter could then hit a button which would raise that shelf and start a new one. I don't know exactly how it worked but it was a very cool concept. I'm not really sure what of theirs has been preserved.

Now the Russians have built new bilevel sleepers and they are building a ton of those cars right now. I believe they have over 350 Double Deckers already and still more in production as we speak. Theres are significantly different than ours however.

The Hallway for the cars is on one side on the lower floor and the opposite on the upper. To access the rooms on the lower floor one must go down four steps, or the upper floor you go up 7 steps. The cars also look a full foot taller than the Superliners based on looking at them vs the standard Russian passenger car. Each first class sleeper (SV) sleeps 30 in 15 rooms, while the second class sleeper sleeps 64 in 16 rooms. The passage between cars is on the middle floor where the vestibule is. I would love to see the actual dimensions of the cars. Currently they are operating on 12 different lines mostly on one or two night out cardings out of Moskva and St. Petersburg. They look like very good cars and they are popular with the traveling public. Best of all they are compatible with the rest of the cars in the system due to the passages being at the same level so they could be mixed with other equipment. Except Russia isn't like us they tend to run one type of equipment on a train not the three different types Amtrak runs on the Silver Meteor (Viewliner I, Viewliner II, Amfleet II).
 

20th Century Rider

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I love that idea the Seaboard Airline and Atlantic Coastline both had midtrain observation cars on their flagships when the train would split they would be observations. It's not unheard of and I believe several have been preserved. I know my friend John Owen has one of them.

For everyone commenting about a luggage elevator that also is not quite unheard of but not in a bi-level car. The Southern Pacific on some of their flagships like the Shasta Daylight had a door on the outside of each coach where one could load your baggage from the platform that the porter could then hit a button which would raise that shelf and start a new one. I don't know exactly how it worked but it was a very cool concept. I'm not really sure what of theirs has been preserved.

Now the Russians have built new bilevel sleepers and they are building a ton of those cars right now. I believe they have over 350 Double Deckers already and still more in production as we speak. Theres are significantly different than ours however.

The Hallway for the cars is on one side on the lower floor and the opposite on the upper. To access the rooms on the lower floor one must go down four steps, or the upper floor you go up 7 steps. The cars also look a full foot taller than the Superliners based on looking at them vs the standard Russian passenger car. Each first class sleeper (SV) sleeps 30 in 15 rooms, while the second class sleeper sleeps 64 in 16 rooms. The passage between cars is on the middle floor where the vestibule is. I would love to see the actual dimensions of the cars. Currently they are operating on 12 different lines mostly on one or two night out cardings out of Moskva and St. Petersburg. They look like very good cars and they are popular with the traveling public. Best of all they are compatible with the rest of the cars in the system due to the passages being at the same level so they could be mixed with other equipment. Except Russia isn't like us they tend to run one type of equipment on a train not the three different types Amtrak runs on the Silver Meteor (Viewliner I, Viewliner II, Amfleet II).
They seem huge... and class level is determined by number of beds in a room... but apparently have no facilities in the rooms. Vestibules and passage between cars is at a compatible level with single level cars and stairs to up or down to upper/lower levels.


Screen Shot 2021-01-03 at 10.28.19 PM.png
 

cocojacoby

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Rooms don't look very comfortable. Seat backs are really upright and it doesn't look like there is enough room to recline. You also only get one small window to look out. Viewliner rooms are much better.

RZD (FPC) Double-Decker Premium Class Sleeper  - Img 1-min.jpg
 

jis

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They seem huge... and class level is determined by number of beds in a room... but apparently have no facilities in the rooms. Vestibules and passage between cars is at a compatible level with single level cars and stairs to up or down to upper/lower levels.
They will be a bit of an ADA nightmare though if brought as is to the US.
 

railiner

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The Alaska Ultra Domes are unique, in that they are tall enough to allow passage from car to car on both levels, although I believe only the original, Princess Tours version actually allows that.
 

MARC Rider

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This car would be fine as a division between classes. When I was a weekend regular on the Del Monte (Fort Ord<>San Francisco) they always had the parlor-lounge positioned at the end of the train so that coach passengers could pick up snacks and beverages without entering the parlor section.
That's how they handle the business class cars on 65/66/67 and the Vermonter when they're using the split club business class car.
 

sttom

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But if sacrificing a couple of sleeper roomettes for an elevator - sobeit that is the price of doing business -
if business is that great ADD more cars to the consist - quit being so darn cheap !
I have this feeling that Amtrak was destined to be like the the USPS a NOT FOR PROFIT organization !
Build it and they will come - building RR cars has to be fare less expensive than those tubular air machines -
There is a host of the 737 max tubular frames that could be converted (ya sick joke I know).
Sacrificing a couple of rooms for an elevator and just adding extra cars may or may not be a good idea. If the aisles can't be made wide enough for someone in a wheel chair to travel around the train, having the elevator would be a waste of space since that would be the only place they could go. If wheelchairs could be accommodated, then my question would be do the modifications sacrifice any existing comfort in a noticeable way? As for the cost, adding cars could mean adding engines which adds costs that may or may not be covered by the extra riders. Just because something isn't meant to make a profit, doesn't mean they should run up their costs without thinking something through.

They seem huge... and class level is determined by number of beds in a room... but apparently have no facilities in the rooms. Vestibules and passage between cars is at a compatible level with single level cars and stairs to up or down to upper/lower levels.


View attachment 20100
I'd have a problem with using multilevel sleeper cars in the US because there is an expectation that you will move around the train at some point during your trip. On most European trains, what night trains they have left generally run at times where the only think you should be doing is sleeping since the run times are like 10pm to 7am. I've also seen a few trip reports on YouTube and some companies actually lock the doors between cars so only the crew can travel between cars. If you're on OBB for instance, their trains don't usually have a dining car, so there is no real reason for you to leave your car once you've found it.
 

Mailliw

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Rooms don't look very comfortable. Seat backs are really upright and it doesn't look like there is enough room to recline. You also only get one small window to look out. Viewliner rooms are much better.

View attachment 20103
They're utilitarian, but versatile; they sleep up to four people, you can buy a berth in a shared compartment, and the same compartment can ve sold as either 2nd Class 4 berth or 1st Class 2 berth. Granted ADA compliance is a problem.
 
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