• Empire Builder on the Ground in MT

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by STrRedWolf
 
justalurker66 wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 2:08 am Center of gravity can be controlled by putting heavy things down low. The Superliners have heavy things above the wheel sets so I'd say that they are balanced well between being "top heavy" and keeping heavy things low. Single level cars put those heavy things between the wheels (close to the tracks) but that reduces passenger space on a two level car.
...I think I need to redesign a custom train design. Be right back...
  by charlesriverbranch
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 7:06 am Messrs. Lurker and Bug, your immediate comments lead me to hold that bi-level equipment is "done for" on Amtrak. Single level will be "the order of the day" systemwide.
California Amtrak trains run a lot of bi-level equipment ("Surfliners"). At least one other state-supported train, Michigan's Pere Marquette, runs Superliners, according to what I see on the Bangor, Michigan live cam.

The "Superliners" and "Surfliners" are based on the "hi-level" cars Santa Fe began running in the 1950s. The concept has a track record going back decades, and if there were something inherently unsafe about it, we'd have heard about it long ago, I think.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 7:06 am Messrs. Lurker and Bug, your immediate comments lead me to hold that bi-level equipment is "done for" on Amtrak. Single level will be "the order of the day" systemwide.
Mr. Norman you do make a good point. If the NTSB comes out negatively about the Superliner design it would make it difficult to order new ones - though it may end up being more along the lines of adding escape routes such as hatch ways on the top and possibly seat belts could be in the future. While the cars overturned they physically held up pretty well so it might not be a totally scathing review but we’ll see.

While I would respectfully disagree about the long distance trains being on shaky ground - I personally believe the re-authorization language in the infrastructure bill, which will eventually pass despite the ongoing theatrics, is going to make it very difficult to eliminate long distance trains anytime soon if ever - this accident could very well have implications on equipment orders. The legislation is going to require them to at least begin the process of replacing the Superliner 1 and Amfleet 2 equipment. The bipartisan reaction in congress to the southwest Chief plan I think has put the network on much more solid ground, but it will certainly be interesting to see what any order looks like after this.

I don’t think management’s current intention is to do away with bilevels completely - though I think some current Superliner trains would have eventually been converted to single level regardless. But i think they would at least have ordered bilevel equipment for the Auto Train because it makes far more sense on that particular route - and the Auto Train is not going anywhere. We shall see what implications this NTSB report has.
  by MattW
 
The biggest advantage of BiLevel trains is the low-platform boarding. Even low-platform single-level cars typically don't have floor heights as low as the Superliners/California Cars. Though some commuter rail systems in the west are using high level platforms, most stations will never use them.
  by STrRedWolf
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:43 am
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 7:06 am Messrs. Lurker and Bug, your immediate comments lead me to hold that bi-level equipment is "done for" on Amtrak. Single level will be "the order of the day" systemwide.
Mr. Norman you do make a good point. If the NTSB comes out negatively about the Superliner design it would make it difficult to order new ones - though it may end up being more along the lines of adding escape routes such as hatch ways on the top and possibly seat belts could be in the future. While the cars overturned they physically held up pretty well so it might not be a totally scathing review but we’ll see.
This accident did inspire me to look at the Superliner design and how I was designing the train consist for my next novel. I wanted to preserve high and low level boarding, but I realized I needed to work on ADA accessibility through the train.

For going to upper SL level to high-block (middle) level, I do have some ideas inspired by some bus (gasp!) handicap lift designs that fold out of the way when not in use. That'll get folks in wheelchairs down to the high-block door and out, or to a hand-crank lift. More internal systems for going upper-to-lower or upper-to-middle can be employed.
  by photobug56
 
With ADA, high and low level platforms, and the need to maximize space, it's a complex problem. Only comparison I can think of - LIRR C3 bilevels, high level platform only, each end of the car has 'ADA' seating and may have a 'portable cesspool' room. All other passengers go UP or DOWN to one of the 2 levels.
  by STrRedWolf
 
photobug56 wrote: Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:49 am With ADA, high and low level platforms, and the need to maximize space, it's a complex problem. Only comparison I can think of - LIRR C3 bilevels, high level platform only, each end of the car has 'ADA' seating and may have a 'portable cesspool' room. All other passengers go UP or DOWN to one of the 2 levels.
Well... for commuters, you can high-block ("mid-level") and have the wheelchair-bound on the ends (even with a Bombardier Multilevel). For LD service, you can get away with keeping them in the sleeper (and I think some coach has areas in the lower sections) while delivering food to them. But for my purposes, I couldn't really do that when it was highly likely for them to move about, get to know some of the writers/artists/musicians, and be creative... plus my original design had a lot of stairs.

The point, however, is that it's *possible* to design a Superliner-sized bi-level LD set where wheelchair-bound folk can move about, and still have multi-level boarding.

Now if the NTSB pushes for it, that's a different story.
  by justalurker66
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 7:06 amMessrs. Lurker and Bug, your immediate comments lead me to hold that bi-level equipment is "done for" on Amtrak. Single level will be "the order of the day" systemwide.
You are welcome to draw your own conclusion but you have drawn one that I absolutely do NOT agree with.
  by BandA
 
In a derailment massive kinetic energy has to be absorbed or dissipated. In any direction. As we search for improvements that might help in the future I think there is a lot of stuff like seatbelts, luggage covers, air bags, track inspection robots, etc. that could be implemented before getting rid of bilevels on <80MPH trains.
  by eolesen
 
I agree bilevels will go away eventually but not for safety concerns. This has been discussed elsewhere so I'll leave it at that.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by west point
 
Do not count new SLs out yet. A new taller one could be workable if the clearances at CHI can be increased. A taller one might make for more seats per car and an ADA elevator in at least one car. That would allow all present SL routes except Capitol to operate with taller cars.. Yes there maybe a few locations to fi mainly station clearances. However any present double stack route is capable. The higher SL types are not feasible without changes at CHI. Other wise taller ones would only work for Sunset and Starlight. Not worth it.
  by photobug56
 
What are the advantages of bilevel sleeper cars? On a commuter train it's easy - more seats for a given length of train (where length is limited).

What are the disadvantages beyond higher center of gravity and possible ADA problems? On commuter trains, might not fit into a tunnel (obviously also an Amtrak issue). US commuter trains tend to be fairly slow so higher center of gravity might not be as much of an issue.
  by west point
 
photobug56 wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:21 pm US commuter trains tend to be fairly slow so higher center of gravity might not be as much of an issue.
That is mostly true. However MARC trains on the Penn line do make 125 especially on expresses.
  by justalurker66
 
photobug56 wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:21 pmUS commuter trains tend to be fairly slow so higher center of gravity might not be as much of an issue.
Metra and NICTD South Shore run bi-levels at 79 MPH and their design may be more "top heavy" than the superliners (placement of heavy air conditioner units in the center of the car above the entrance foyer). Without checking I'd say the cars weigh less (empty) but "top heavy" refers to where the weight is placed, not the total weight.

Focusing on the topic of this thread: Did using superliners cause the incident? I do not believe the use of superliners was the cause. Did using superliners cause the crash to be worse? To be determined officially, but I would lean toward "yes" not because the "top heavy" accusations but because of the NTSB noted window size issues.

It is harder to keep people protected inside the aluminum can train when the walls are made of glass and hitting the ballast shatters the glass and turns the glass and ballast into damaging if not deadly projectiles. Compared to aircraft design both single level and superliner cars have huge windows. One of the selling points for traveling by rail is the view. But the windows offer less protection than a heavy frame.
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