• 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
 
Let us not forget the design of a bi-level commuter VS a Superliner.

A bi-level commuter has to ether be all low-platform (VRE) or mixed-platform, high/low ether by traps (MARC/NJ Transit) or multiple doors (Metra new design). Mostly, they go everywhere (double that of the Bombardier Multilevels). They have to spare room for things such as stairs going from mid-level to upper/lower level. Most foot traffic will be mid-level. They're built to haul as many passengers as possible up to three hours away from a central hub. Because the bi-levels have mid-level areas, the heating/AC has to go up top. The height varies between 14.5' to 15'

A Superliner is exclusively low-platform boarding, and has upper-level most everything. They're basically built like a hotel on the tracks, and almost all foot traffic is upper-level. You could do two-level boarding if it were designed so. Because of being mostly upper-level, heating/AC has to go under that level and over the trucks. Their height is 16.5'.

Has there been roll-over testing on a Superliner vs, say, a Bombardier Multilevel? I'd love to see them.

That said, aren't the windows on a Superliner technically safety glass or even double-paned safety glass, which is coated in transparent plastic so that you don't get them shattering from bullet strikes or even ballast? (That'll probably be in the NTSB report).
  by J.D. Lang
 
If they went off of the tracks while traveling at 75+ MPH (according to NTSB statements) then I think they held up pretty well by looking at the pictures. I'm sure that glass would be some kind of safety glass that would not shatter into shards.

Seat belts, totally impractical. During that time of day most likely a number of people would be moving around in the car isles or walking from one car to the next.
  by Railjunkie
 
J.D. Lang wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:36 am If they went off of the tracks while traveling at 75+ MPH (according to NTSB statements) then I think they held up pretty well by looking at the pictures. I'm sure that glass would be some kind of safety glass that would not shatter into shards.

Seat belts, totally impractical. During that time of day most likely a number of people would be moving around in the car isles or walking from one car to the next.
Many a firefighter has tried to break windows on coaches with a sledge hammer only to have it bounce back at him twice as fast as it went down ending with a extra casualty. Most fire companies know not to attempt this any longer, Its still drilled into us in rules class.

Seat belts, crews currently have a hard enough time enforcing the mask mandate.
  by justalurker66
 
J.D. Lang wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:36 amI'm sure that glass would be some kind of safety glass that would not shatter into shards.
Perhaps "pellets" of glass may have been a better description, but I was basing my comments on a witness statement for the Empire Builder incident. He clung for his life to a table while the window beneath his feet busted out and turned to shrapnel combined with ballast. (The window was beneath his feet when the car fell on its side.)

A survivability / crashworthiness note about bi-levels. Nippon Sharyo was effectively put out of business in the US due to changes in the standards for surviving an incident. Hopefully Alstrom's proposed cars will pass the tests.
  by justalurker66
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:58 amLet us not forget the design of a bi-level commuter VS a Superliner.

A bi-level commuter has to ether be all low-platform (VRE) or mixed-platform, high/low ether by traps (MARC/NJ Transit) or multiple doors (Metra new design).
Metra's current design is basically a high platform car with one wide double door with steps down to serve low platforms on the lines they serve. (The Electric District has high platforms and level boarding.) Metra does not have a mix of platform heights on the same line, although with the "traps" on the Electric District cars they can serve passengers off platform in emergencies or if the platform is unavailable. The new Alstrom design adds a second door and a 100% low seating area which will be able to be used for ADA and bikes/strollers.

NICTD South Shore's variation on Metra's bi-levels added end vestibules on the non-cab end of the cars to provide a trap door for serving low platform stations. At high platform stations the second door provides another exit/entrance.

Metra and NICTD's electric bi-levels would have heavier motorized trucks (every car is motive power) plus the additional weight of pantographs on the roof. The motorized trucks probably balance out the alleged "top heavy" problem (extra weight on the bottom more than extra weight on the top of the car). Two level cars without motive power would have lighter trucks.
  by MBTA3247
 
justalurker66 wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:18 pmA survivability / crashworthiness note about bi-levels. Nippon Sharyo was effectively put out of business in the US due to changes in the standards for surviving an incident.
The 800,000-lb buff strength test that their next-gen California Car prototype failed in 2015 dates back to 1999 - and they had previously delivered several orders of other cars which passed that test. Whatever went wrong at NS, it wasn't changing standards that did them in.
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone: After reading the comments about Superliner car windows and how some may have failed or broken in the four overturned cars in the derailment - I remember that side passenger car windows are not glass at all...
The plastic or plexiglass resin sheeting used was/is called "Marguard" (FRA 460) that is an inch or more thick and is bullet-resistant since regular glass types are not permitted to be used in passenger car side or other windows.
From reading RJ's post about rescue workers being instructed not to attempt window breakage the composition of the windows not being glass makes sense here...

I recall as example a LIRR shop tour that I was on some years ago - I noticed an M1/M3 MU car side window on a table - I picked it up and found out how thick and heavy that they were - and remembering the visual perception when riding on a train is that the car windows are thinner than they actually are.

When actual bulletproof safety glass is used it is for front-end applications for locomotives and MU cars.

The window problems in the derailed cars could be with the rubber gaskets that hold the windows in place.
Emergency exit windows as example are designed to be lifted out and removed in any evacuation scenario.

One example that I remember occurred back in November 2000 - I took the Capitol Limited #30 CHI-WAS and remember a delay in CHI caused by an emergency exit window being accidentally (?) removed by a passenger. An Amtrak repair crew had to be called out to put the window back into place - and recall that this and a wait for roadrailers to be placed on the train caused a substantial delay leaving CHI of around two or more hours on the Tuesday evening into the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2000...a total of 7 to 8 hours late into WAS.

Could the rubber gaskets that hold car side windows be to blame for any injuries or fatalities in the EB wreck?
I believe that this was the cause for example in the Metro-North Spuyten Duyvil wreck some years ago...

Any thoughts or opinions anyone? MACTRAXX
Last edited by MACTRAXX on Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by photobug56
 
Re LIRR, as I recall even the old rust bucket (the rusted out hulks hauled by diesels into the late 1990's) had safety glass. I know the C3's (hauled bilevels) and M7's (single level MU electric) do, and the M9's must. I believe the C1's did too. And I'm well familiar with the rubber 'gaskets' with pull handle on emergency windows.
  by MattW
 
One quick note, the Superliners are less than 4ft taller than an Amfleet, and 3ft 2in taller than a Horizon.
  by dgvrengineer
 
I have always heard that the worst place to be in a derailment is between cars since if they separate you will most likely end up on the ground and run over. That would definitely be the wrong place at the wrong time.
  by Ridgefielder
 
David Benton wrote: Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:33 pm On modern cars that is also the crumple zone , and there will be signs not to linger in that area.
Not just modern cars. I think there have been signs telling passengers not to linger in vestibules for as long as there have been vestibules.

With regard to Superliners and the center of gravity, etc.-- guys, this equipment entered service in 1979, and the Budd Hi-Levels they were based on were in continuous revenue service from 1954 to 2018. If there was a problem that made them particularly prone to overturning we'd have known about it a long time ago. It's not even as if this is the first fatal wreck involving them.
  by rcthompson04
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:57 am With regard to Superliners and the center of gravity, etc.-- guys, this equipment entered service in 1979, and the Budd Hi-Levels they were based on were in continuous revenue service from 1954 to 2018. If there was a problem that made them particularly prone to overturning we'd have known about it a long time ago. It's not even as if this is the first fatal wreck involving them.
I really doubt this is some problem with these cars being top heavy. It isn't just the Hi-Levels, but the California Cars and Surfliners that have used this basic design.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:57 am Not just modern cars. I think there have been signs telling passengers not to linger in vestibules for as long as there have been vestibules.
I keep hearing the announcements of "Don't stand in the vestibules" and keep wondering "um, the average Baltimoron doesn't know what a 'vestibule' is. What's a better way to say that..."
  by photobug56
 
As said on the NYC subway, Between Cars! Unless, of course, one of these decades you happen to find yourself on one of the very small number of new trains that are open between cars. If they ever arrive.

On LIRR modern cars, just the short space between cars. On the old rust bucket fleet, the ends were wide open to the weather, the doors, depending on car type, either centrally controlled when that worked, or opened or closed by passengers. Place where many hung out to drink or smoke, party, etc. Or on one train, at the very front of the first car, a nice place to hang out in the breeze to listen to the one or two GP38-2's on the train home.
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