• Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

  • Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.
Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

Moderator: AlexC

  by jonnhrr
Would Brookville have the ability to gear up for the production line necessary to re-equip a system the size of Philly's? It's one thing to fulfill boutique orders for cities like Milwaukee and Detroit. The Liberty is a nice car but can it be mass produced?
  by Myrtone
ekt8750 wrote: Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:43 am
Myrtone wrote: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:55 pm Could Brookville equipment even gear up for a pivoting bogie low floor model similar to Skoda's ForCity?
Been there, done that:

Only offerings from that company are fixed bogie models with part high floor.
  by R36 Combine Coach
west point wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:14 am Speed up production ? Ask Amtrak about CAF!
And TTC's BBD order. Only Kawasaki (and Siemens) seems timely now. The latter has Sacramento filled with
orders to the max.
  by Myrtone
BuddCar711 wrote: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:18 am I hope we're not getting something that ugly. It's bad enough that the new fleet will be low-floors.
If it is bad enough that the new fleet will be low floor, do fixed trucks make it worse.

Imagine this conversation:

Enthusiast: I saw an article on Setpa's order for new trolley cars and I saw the illustration. I want the new cars to have pivoting trucks like the existing fleet. Pivoting trucks ride better and they won't require easing of any of our curves, which could be greatly costly and inconvenient and put less stress on the tracks. I will miss the ride quality of pivoting trucks if all the K cars are replaced by fixed truck five section trolleys and I will also miss the buildings that will have to be demolished to ease the curves.

Will SEPTA please change its order to something with three-sections and pivoting outer trucks?

SEPTA: I'm sorry to burst your bubble but that isn't going to happen. New trolleys need to be at least 70% low floor to be compliant and while most 70% low floor cars do have pivoting trucks, that is required by law. However, those with mobility problems do prefer 100% low floor. People who say we don't need 100% low floor are usually fit, able-bodies people with no mobility problems.

Enthusiast: But you don't have 100% low floor buses. Do the mobility impaired prefer buses to be 100% low floor?

SEPTA: We have no idea what buses being part high floor would have to do with travelers with limited mobility. Low floor buses are always low floor at the front, they have stepless entrances right next to the driver, that is where their wheelchair accessible doors are.
70% low floor rail vehicles are always high floor over the outer trucks, so it's not the same. Furthermore, the wheelchair accessible door of a low floor LRV is near the middle even if it is 100% low floor.
Do you seriously think it would be acceptable for the wheelchair accessible door of a low floor bus to be near the middle? Do you seriously think the public would appreciate part high floor buses if they had to be high floor over the front wheels as well as the rear and could not have front door loading?

Anyway, an accessible bus service only requires low floor buses, and accessible trolley service also requires accessible stops? No point in rebuilding stops if they only provide level boarding to part of the vehicle. Do you think there would be any point in modifying footpaths just to provide level boarding to the front of a bus if wheelchair accessible bus services required modified footpaths as well as low floor buses?

Enthusiast: I have been on some great 100% low floor streetcars in Europe that have pivoting trucks. They're great and that is just the sort of thing I want to replace the K cars I grew up loving. Pivoting trucks have been part of my trolley fandom since childhood.

SEPTA: We're not in Europe and we are not a theme park service, we do not make rolling stock decisions based on technological aspects. Look at Toronto. They have only operated fixed truck, fully accessible high capacity streetcars in their network for a few years now. They might not ride as well as what they replaced and not corner as well with entire segments tracking curves, but as far as laypeople are concerned, they do their job.
New streetcars for Toronto will always be multi-articulated with nothing but fixed trucks. There is no going back to pivoting trucks, ever, even if they are technologically superior. Most 100% low floor LRVs in North America do not have pivoting trucks and the number will not increase. There are no 100% low floor LRVs in the United States with pivoting trucks and there never will be.
100% low floor for a new system, which is generally the case in North America, means fixed trucks. Those pivoting truck models that you say are 100% low floor are a burden, they cost more and more importantly their floors are not completely flat. That you will miss the technology underneath the existing fleet is not a selection factor when A.D.A compliant streetcars with that technology either have steps in parts of the aisle or have slight inclines from the doors, especially when there is a good chance that those speeding down those entrances will somersault out of their wheelchairs when they hit the platforms.

Enthusiast: Rubbish! Firstly, these are no steeper than wheelchair ramps, secondly, there are low floor buses with similar inclines from the doors and wheelchair users don't have a problem getting on and off those and they don't somersault out of their wheelchairs upon hitting the footpath.

SEPTA: No amount of foam is going to make trolley cars buses. As an accessible trolley car service requires rebuilt stops as well as a fleet renewal, the A.D.A regulates them the same as heavy rail and floors of trains do need to be completely flat for them to be okay for the mobility impaired, what gradient are permitted for wheelchair ramps is irrelevant. Not only are trolley cars more like trains than anything else, but for a trolley service to be friendly to all users, trolley-cars need to be used more like all-stations trains than anything else, this also means compulsory stopping.
Buses are more like taxis but much larger and heavier, following fixed routes, stopping only at signs on poles and run according to timetables. Buses have similar accessibility requirements to taxis because an A.D.A compliant bus service only requires low floor vehicles, not modified footpaths. To be friendly to all users, a bus service also needs to be run more like a jitney than anything else apart from stopping only at signs on poles and running according to timetables.

Enthusiast: The A.D.A only specifies a maximum gradient for a wheelchair ramp, it does not have different rules for transit vehicle floors, nor are the rules for rail vehicle floor any different from the rules for bus floors.
When I was in Europe, I saw people getting on and off such trolley cars in wheelchairs without any problem, and even in cities like Gothenburg and Helsinki, where they were already running or had before run fixed truck 100% low floor equipment, the mobility impaired did not protest against them.

SEPTA: You need to look further because we at SEPTA spoke about this many times before we closed our tenders. When we started looking into replacing just wanted our new trolley cars to be A.D.A compliant and we just wanted level boarding to them in the streets by building up platforms slightly. We just wanted at least 70% low floor, with no requirements about the technology underneath them.
As you may know, the K cars are too short. When wheelchair accessibility was an option, not yet required by law, we did not bother fixing what was not broke back then. Times are now changing faster now and to a greater extent than used to be the case. We need to move with the changes, especially the introduction of new rules and regulations and existing rules and regulations being made increasingly stringent.
So we just wanted to order longer trolley cars, and while we knew they would need to be articulated, we gave no specifications about the number of articulations for their length - this depends on the technology underneath them.

We were advised they would be 100% low floor, though with no pre-conditions on whether the floor would be completely flat as long as the inclines are not too steep for wheelchairs. This is what we were advised after speaking about accessibility many times to people far more knowledgable than a real foamer would be. This is when we chose Alstom's offering.
I have not been on those trolley cars you mention that you consider 100% low floor, and certainly not seen anyone get on and off them in wheelchairs or with any other mobility aids but I do not have tunnel vision and while not an expert on rail technology nor work in the rail industry, I know what rail technology, such as truck types, are working globally.
One more time, your putative benefits of steam age technology underneath new trolleys are not worth considering anymore.

The enthusiast lost the argument, but not because of saying anything that is wrong but because of SEPTA's (and that offical's) reaction to railfans trying to challenge that official and nobody else caring about eccentrics losing arguments others would not have.

SEPTA says something that is wrong about accessibility, on which the mobility impaired do not comment. They do get called out but only by a fit, able-bodied person with no mobility problems (in this case by an enthusiast concerned with the technological aspects) and so instead of trying to learn from the enthusiast, they double down.

The original comment by said enthusiast went against what lead to a rolling stock decision by SEPTA. That SEPTA offical makes no apologies to enthusiasts who makes comments like that on the technology of the vehicles that does not concern anyone else in the slightest, even if the enthusiast's comments about accessibility and the technology underneath them are technically correct as almost nobody else cares about the technological aspects mentioned by that enthusiast.