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Double-decker trains could be introduced on British railways in a bid to ease overcrowding at peak times.

Designers are said to be working on ways of developing such trains that would still be compatible with low bridges and tunnels, according to The Times.

Such carriages would be lowered towards the tracks to create height, while aisles on both decks, positioned down the side of the compartment, would create maximum space.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11997972/Double-decker-trains-are-designed-to-help-ease-overcrowding.html

 

interesting tidbit:

The 4.22am service from Glasgow to Manchester airport, which is run by TransPennine Express, is officially the busiest in the country, running at 186 per cent of capacity at its peak.

 

Must be on the last leg of a medium-long distance service, peculiar (or not perhaps) that you get those loadings...

Edited by bikkuri bahn
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Well, it's not a train, but this is how they dealt with overcrowding in Hannover, Germany, in 1926.  Where is that loading gauge test bus?

 

 

gallery_941_135_130069.jpg

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The 4DD had a few problems:

 

It was cramped. As might be expected when trying to cram two decks of passengers into the UK loading gauge. The compartments were offset so the seats upstairs ended up over the heads of the passengers downstairs (rather than their feet being above head height downstairs) but there was very little room. Even worse in hot weather as the upper windows didn't open, and aircon wasn't fitted.

 

It took longer at stations, as you were trying to cram almost twice as many people through the same number of doors.

 

There are a couple of driving motor coaches left, but I'm not sure what state either is in. One is just recorded as being in poor condition on a "private site", which sounds horribly like the sort of person who buys something unique then lets it rot while refusing to sell, as "I'll restore it one day". The other might have a better chance as it's on a preserved railway.

 

Modern technology would get around the lack of ventilation, but wouldn't help with the lack of room. If anything it'd be worse as people are bigger now (not just because too many people live on McDonalds either - a healthy person of 2015 is bigger than someone from 1950s Britain). The door problem would be even worse too, as we seem to suffer from large numbers of self-centred twonks who do things like trying to get onto the train before anyone has a chance to get off (leading to something resembling a passive-aggressive rugby scrum), or standing gormlessly in the doorway for ages rather than walking further onto the train and finding a seat!

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The problem with the 4DDs is that they weren't able to effectively use the chassis underframe space, so they were more 1.5-deckers. This came up in another forum a while back, I did actually wonder whether the Japanese double-decker coaches used on commuter trains here would serve as useful prototypes, but even they exceed the British loading gauge.

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The 3rd rail and diesel loading gauge height is almost 4 meters, meaning it allows for a double decker internal height of around 180 cm which is not much.

 

The overhead loading gauge on the other hand is very similar to the japanese one. It would be a tight fit thanks to the AC voltage, but it's more viable.

 

A third alternative is a gallery car with a single corridor and steps leading down and up to the seats. Some japanese sleeper cars also used this layout.

 

Still the level of comfort possible would be rather low compared to single deck cars. I wonder what routes they would like to introduce these sets.

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I think they'd have to do something like the DB double deckers, with the seating in a well between the bogies.

 

The other problem with smaller wheels is that it increases the rotation speed of the axles, and therefore puts more stress on the bearings. Also means you have to have smaller brake disks, which will struggle to dissipate heat as quickly.

 

This is why the "9F" 2-10-0 steam locos were banned from hauling expresses. They were intended for heavy freight, but naturally in the event of breakdowns or heavy passenger traffic on summer weekends anything to hand would be stuck on the front of a train. 9Fs didn't have a speedometer. Which led to a few incidences of them storming along at 80-90mph after the driver simply opened the regulator as far as felt safe. While the engine rode superbly at that speed, the pistons and valves were being forced to move at similar speeds to those of an A4 at 126mph thanks to the smaller wheels. This had nearly ended very badly for "Mallard", so the practice was discouraged...

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Wheel size and door placement wouldn't be a problem as british platforms are high, which leaves enough space for proper bogies and doors at the single deck end sections.

 

The problem is loading gauge height on many parts of the network as there is no space for two average men to stand on top of each other while at rail height, so if you use well cars, you still only have about 3 inches for two decks and a roof and anyone above average height wouln't fit while standing.

 

One possibe solution is to have the seats at car roof height spaces and use a single corridor with steps up and down to each seat. Very much like a two story bed.

 

Another idea is to have no seats at the corridors, and have one on each side. This means the lower level would have small windows on one side at desk level, while the top level would only have a small strip of windows and a nice baggage shelf on the other at head level. Generally this would loose one seat per row on both levels, but could cram 6 people into the space of 4. 2+2 seating would become 0+3/1+2, with no room to completly stand up except on the corridors.

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Hello,

 

Generally the trade off for bi-level cars is the waiting time at the stations.  I agree with Mr Welshbloke.  This makes them unsuitable for most commuter and suburban services.  JR uses bi-level cars as green cars sometimes, so the seating capacity is reduced.  Often, on a crowded suburban train from Tokyo to Yokohama you will find the bi-level green cars have few passengers.

 

Longer waiting time at stations leads to overcrowding on platforms, requiring changes to infrastructure.

 

I am surprised that the UK is looking in this direction, but there may be some merit in bi-level cars on long distance express services, however, these generally don't have an overcrowding problem  I notice also that the designs on offer have doors at the end of the cars and small vestibules offering little or no luggage space or room for toilets.  I presume then that they are not intended for long distance express services, despite the photomontage of the woman in the Birmingham-Manchester artist's impression.

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Interesting points.  If English Wikipedia's information is correct, JR East doesn't use the 215 series too much (and they only have 4 10-car sets).  I guess this is why.  They're 23 years old already, I'm surprised they haven't been sent to that big depot in the sky (and by sky I mean Nagano :grin)

 

Edit: Then again, they got one set and then waited 18 months for the other 3.  Seems like enough time to evaluate the design, they must have had some plan in mind.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/215_series

Edited by miyakoji
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Such carriages would be lowered towards the tracks to create height, while aisles on both decks, positioned down the side of the compartment, would create maximum space.

This doesn't make sense to me. Here in NYC we have the C3 cars on the Long Island Rail Road, which are designed to be low profile. There are similar cars on NJ Transit to make it through the Hudson River tunnel. They have the floor lowered but they have the aisle in the middle, between the rails. The seats are raised a bit from the aisle to clear the rails.

 

That lets you stand normally in the aisle, and climbing into a seat is kind of like climbing into the seat of an average SUV. You lose headroom so you can't just walk into your seat, but the action of sitting is not unfamiliar.

 

I don't understand putting the aisles on the sides, above the rail. That would seem to make standing normally while walking through the aisle impossible, and it would give an unnecessary amount of headroom while sitting..

 

Interesting points.  If English Wikipedia's information is correct, JR East doesn't use the 215 series too much (and they only have 4 10-car sets).  I guess this is why.  They're 23 years old already, I'm surprised they haven't been sent to that big depot in the sky (and by sky I mean Nagano :grin)

The 215 series is not the only bi-level series in JR's fleet. They have many. It's a pretty standard configuration for JR.

 

I've ridden bi-level green cars in Japan many times (as well as the E27s on the Cassiopeia, although that's a very different config), but I have always sat in the single-level section at the end of the car so I can't say what the bi-level section's like. They seem to be basically like the LIRR C3's I mentioned above, though, at least in terms of design. Probably a bit shorter.

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I know they have lots of bi-levels in various formations, but I recall hearing that the 215 is the only type in all of Japan that's entirely bilevel.  I may be thinking of something else though...

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I know they have lots of bi-levels in various formations, but I recall hearing that the 215 is the only type in all of Japan that's entirely bilevel.  I may be thinking of something else though...

 

E1 and E4 Shinkansens

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Bilevel cars normally stack the aisles on top of each other in the middle. There is no space for this in the smaller british loading gauge.

 

The solution is to have one aisle slightly lowered on one side serving the bottom floor, while another on the other side serving the top floor. This means both aisles can be full height, while the sitting areas are half height.

 

The bottom floor can be flat with full height only on the aisle while the top floor would probably need a step to get on top of the seats below.

 

Toilet space, doors and other functions can be provided over the bogies, where the car is single deck.

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Probably the whole problem (capacity issues) could be solved with single level rolling stock with longitudinal-only seating or mixed box/longitudinal and more standing space.  But, of course, everyone needs to sit down on their commute... :icon_scratch:

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Claude_Dreyfus

Currently writing this on a standing-room only 12 carriage train into London Bridge. The issue is simply capacity...the best solution would be more, longer and more frequent trains. Double-decker stock would require significant infrastructure changes and would increase station dwell times...which is the biggest bane for peak time planning. I believe they are/were considering this stock for South Western services out of Waterloo...in part because part of this route is being upgraded (loading gauge increased) to take bigger container trains from Southampton docks.

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Claude_Dreyfus

 

interesting tidbit:

Must be on the last leg of a medium-long distance service, peculiar (or not perhaps) that you get those loadings...

 

It's called progress I'm afraid. This operator uses 3 car DMUs, so chronic overcrowding on one of these doesn't take too much!

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It could be done on the new HS2 line (if that's ever built, I'll believe it when I see the first digger bucket hit the ground). The plan is to build that to the mainland european loading gauge, like HS1.

 

They'll have even more of a problem with overcrowding on some units soon. There are new rules coming in regarding wheelchair-accessible toilets, each unit has to have at least one. One builder has developed a self-contained module to install them, snag is that it takes up two seating bays. On a two car unit that's feasible, but on a single car (class 153, converted from two-car class 155s for branch lines) it'll take away too many seats to run the thing economically.

 

As a result, the leasing companies will either have to withdraw and scrap the old single car units or spend a lot of money on having them converted back to two car units. If they remove the "new" cabs and only have guard's accommodation in one coach then there'll be enough room for the bigger toilet. I suspect "withdraw and scrap" is more likely as these units are almost thirty years old and in some cases you can see the bodywork sagging.

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I made a drawing to explain the low height double decker conecpt:

post-1969-0-40902600-1447927099.png
Images from left to right:

-loading gauge with platform height in gray and standing human height

-loading gauge with two standing humans on top with center aisle (commonly used for bilevel stock)

-loading gauge with the center section of a normal single level coach with 2+2 seating (with baggage racks above the seats)

-loading gauge with the center section of a double decker well car with two aisles and center seating (baggage racks on the side, above/below the other level's standing space)

 

 

They'll have even more of a problem with overcrowding on some units soon. There are new rules coming in regarding wheelchair-accessible toilets, each unit has to have at least one. One builder has developed a self-contained module to install them, snag is that it takes up two seating bays. On a two car unit that's feasible, but on a single car (class 153, converted from two-car class 155s for branch lines) it'll take away too many seats to run the thing economically.

Since it already takes up at least one seating bay, that means at max. 4 seats will be taken.

 

 

As a result, the leasing companies will either have to withdraw and scrap the old single car units or spend a lot of money on having them converted back to two car units. If they remove the "new" cabs and only have guard's accommodation in one coach then there'll be enough room for the bigger toilet. I suspect "withdraw and scrap" is more likely as these units are almost thirty years old and in some cases you can see the bodywork sagging.

A better approach is to leave them as is, but group them in two car formations and then add one toilet into one car. That would mean a reduction of 4 seats per double car unit, one old and one new style toilet and two mostly unused cabs. (and for low traffic times, it's still possible to run the new toilet equipped cars alone) It's even cheaper than upgrading all units and you can have almost the same capacity by halving the number of services and doubling the number of cars from 1 to 2. (this also allows the reduction of the number of crews)

 

I would like to add that you can see some japanese branchline single car dmu-s that have a very short windowed section compared to their length. The reason might that the toilet and other required spaces take up the rest, which would not be so visible on longer cars or could be distributed in multi car sets.

 

A good example is the siemens desiro classic dmu, where one car contains a cab with a powered bogie below and a motor under the 1st class section, then a low floor 2nd class section, a jackobs bogie, a low floor baggage section with foldable longitudinal seating and a wheelchair accessible toilet, then a high floor 2nd class section with the other motor below and the 2nd powered bogie with the other cab on top. The total length is shorter than two single cars, but it could fit in the same number of people, with 25% 1st class (effectively 20% because of larger legroom), 50% 2nd class, 25% baggage/toilet/wheelchair/bike space, that can be used as standing or '3rd class' seating space. Large double fold out doors are placed between the low and high floor sections in the middle of each car that also provide standing space allowing a 2x of standing people versus seated in case of crush load. Some japanese sets seem to use a similar combined arrangement with service areas in selected cars only.

 

 

Currently writing this on a standing-room only 12 carriage train into London Bridge.

Could you please tell me the class of the set and the position of the standing room car within the set? Thanks!

post-1969-0-40902600-1447927099_thumb.png

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Claude_Dreyfus

Class 377 'Electrostar' units.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_377

 

They have a number of seating configurations. The unit I was on was one of 19 4-car sets with 2x2 seating throughout. A further 20 are pretty much 3x2 throughout, with the remaining being a mixture of 2x2 (driving trailers) and 3x2 for the intermediates.

 

Most units are 4-car (all on my route), but there are 3 and 5 car versions (mainly running as 10-car on suburban services, either as 2x5 or as 2x3+1x4-car sets).

 

Most peak trains in the South East run as the maximum 12 carriage trains due to platform and signalling block limitations.

 

Standing is in the central carriage gangways and in the door vestibules. You can get a lot of people standing in these trains, even if they are not necessarily designed for the purpose.

 

Check out the class 378 for a UK unit designed for inner urban services.

Edited by Claude_Dreyfus
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Thank you! Now i see what you meant. Using longitudinal seating and maybe adding one more door (for faster boarding and more standing space) would certainly help and seems better than trains with longer boarding time and more seats, at least for urban and short distance suburban service.

 

ps: The only way a double decker to exchange passengers as fast as a single decker car is to have doors on both levels, but that would make them more expensive than just simply building longer platforms.

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Claude_Dreyfus

Regarding doors, Southern run a fleet of 24 Express units, mainly for Gatwick services; the class 442. These are 5-coach sets based on the BR mark 3 carriage. They are fast and comfortable, but totally unsuitable for the role they are expected to fulfill.

 

This is mainly due to the location of the doors, which are at the ends of the vehicle - so-called 'end loading'. For express services, that is fine, but for commuting journeys with lots of stopping, it is a problem. It means passengers are closely grouped on the platform and they have one-way dissemination once they board; i.e. they can only really turn one way to get into the carriage. This adds significant time to a station dwell time, leading to delays. It is no surprise that last year the least punctual train in the UK was the 07:41 Brighton to Victoria semi-fast (which managed to arrive on time less than 10 times in 2014!) was formed of a pair of these units.

 

Getting the right stock for the role is crucial...as is the right seating layout. We have some new units being delivered, the Thameslink class 700. There was huge controversy when it was suggested there should be more standing-room...but that makes sense. They will be used on north to south cross-London services where capacity, not seating, is the name of the game.

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