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Old May 4th, 2011, 08:52 AM   #241
k.k.jetcar
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Double decker passenger rolling stock is a good solution in services that warrant them, which are quite many given their versatility. However, they are not the best in all cases, and most importantly, their presence is not an indication of superior technology/operating philosophy vs. single level stock. Double deck trains provide high capacity on a operating diagram with lower frequencies and longer spacing between stations- they are not appropriate for high frequency/frequent stop services, which require high acceleration and short station dwell times. Nor are they good on highly curved lines with high speeds (due to their high CofG). Otherwise, they are a good answer to most operating needs. As far as HSR service, they are fine for your lower frequency services, but in general the higher performance of single level stock is a better solution. Also, most passengers prefer to sit on the upper level- rather than run partially filled double deck trains, it would better to run single level trains, which are easier to maintain and clean.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 10:14 AM   #242
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Actually many prefer to sit on the lower deck. Usually once you know your journey by heart you are not that interested to see the surroundings any more.
The accelerations of the Zürich S-Bahn is not less than any other S-Bahn I know. The older generation made the mistake to have two equally designed decks, while the new ones don't have the same philosophy. The lower deck is used for fast in/out and short travel mostly, with more space to stand, while the upper deck is fully seated. This approach not only gives you an extra amount of capacity it also offers a good solution to separate longer distance travellers from short distance travellers.

This is not about suburban transportation anyway so lets focus on intercity use: The double-deckers are in no way slower then the single deck units. (The IC2000 runs at the same speed as conventional single deck units) The only thing that is not possible are real tilting trains. But tilting trains have several drawbacks (no access for handicapped people) and are very unpopular because of their lack of comfort (some people get sick).

The only reason not to use double deck units is if you don't need the capacity.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 10:31 AM   #243
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Platform height is Switzerland is only 55cm. This is too low to make a non step entrance and a walk trough train with no steps or ramps. There are no single deck intercity trains in Switzerland which have a step less entry. And the last intercity single deck trains the ICN Tilting trains have very narrow and high entrances. The time they gain with the tilting technology is lost at stations. Just watch an ICN at the airport station it has the longest boarding time of all trains. And its not very suitable for passengers with heavy luggage or baby prams. If i would need a wheelchair i just would avid those trains and take the trains with double deckers. AFAIK only TALGO trains can have a low platform height and a flat walk trough train floor as they have no axles.
The platform height in Switzerland is very favorable for double deckers as the platform height matches the floor of the lower deck. In countries with high platform maybe single deckers would be the better solution.

The single decker commuter trains with stepless entry Stadler GTW, Stadler FLIRT and Domino also don't have a flat interior. Its also quite narrow if you want to move with a wheelchair. So even on single deck trains the possibility to move freely with wheelchair is only theoretical.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 10:54 AM   #244
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If so, Italy and Spain must be among the most backward countries in terms of rail transport.
No, they aren't as both use double deck trains extensively.
France, not exactly a backwater, even has lots of bi level TGVs. In fact, SNCF isn't buying anything else at the moemnt.

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As that article states, using double deckers means there is less space for tilting mechanisms up to the usual 8-11 degrees. Double deckers also have a problem with luggage space and accommodation of handicapped passengers.
Double deckers have their disadvantages, true. As always in engineering everything is a compromise. However, not being able to tilt 8-11 degrees is not only a disadvantage... The tilting trains currently running in Switzerland are about the least popular amongst the travellers.
But double deckers trains are actually have the advantage where it comes to accomodating handicapped passengers.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #245
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I don't know what kind of train you have ever been on.
None
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Old May 4th, 2011, 11:20 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
Double decker passenger rolling stock is a good solution in services that warrant them, which are quite many given their versatility. However, they are not the best in all cases, and most importantly, their presence is not an indication of superior technology/operating philosophy vs. single level stock. Double deck trains provide high capacity on a operating diagram with lower frequencies and longer spacing between stations- they are not appropriate for high frequency/frequent stop services, which require high acceleration and short station dwell times.
Double deckers are used extensively on local and suburban services all around europe. Acceleration is only a function of tractive effort versus weight, and there is no reason why a double decker should be slower than a single decker. Als boarding/unboarding needn't be slow. A whole rake of IC2000 stock can be emptied in about a minute... The Suburban trains around Zürich are almost exclusively double deck. And that on lines where 15 minute service intervals are becoming the norm.

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Nor are they good on highly curved lines with high speeds (due to their high CofG).
That is what SBB and Bombardier are now addressing with their WAKO trials.

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Otherwise, they are a good answer to most operating needs. As far as HSR service, they are fine for your lower frequency services, but in general the higher performance of single level stock is a better solution.
Actually SNCF has an epxanding fleet of double deck TGVs, and uses them predominantly on the Paris - Lyon route. AFAIK SNCF is currently only buying double deck TGVs...

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Also, most passengers prefer to sit on the upper level- rather than run partially filled double deck trains, it would better to run single level trains, which are easier to maintain and clean.
Well, the view from the upper level of a doubled deck train is better than from a single deck train. But given the choice, passengers will prefer to sit on the lower level, rather than stand. So the lower deck seats do get used.
Anyway, an SBB IC2000 coach has about as many seats on the upper level as an EWIV single level coach.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #247
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By 2020 , most American and Canadian systems will have a Bi-level or Double Decker Majority in the Commuter Rail rolling stock. The Exception is Metro North and LIRR , due to low tunnels and Grand Central. There more efficient and ease congestion , so i don't understand why anyone would be against them. As for Wheelchairs being able to move around in the cars , thats dangerous....the jerky and tilting on trains can lead to the person falling over , so having them stay in one area is the best thing usually near the doors.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #248
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Double deckers are used extensively on local and suburban services all around europe.
True, but at least in the Paris area the railway companies are beginning to have some second thoughts. The RER lines will remain double deckers, but with the new generation of suburban trains they are moving back from double deckers to one-level trains. One explanation that was given (La Vie du Rail) was that when trains have to stop very frequently double deckers have inefficiently long station stops because it takes extra time to move people up and down the stairs. Their solution is to buy a new generation of wide-bodied and open-space trains from Bombardier that that can take almost as many passengers as a double decker - and for the rest increase the frequency of the trains. (Or so they say. I'll believe it when I see it...)

Of course the TGVs on the main line Paris-Marseille don't have this problem. They stop maximally 2-3 times underway (and some are non-stop), so the issue of load-times is hardly central.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #249
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Their solution is to buy a new generation of wide-bodied and open-space trains from Bombardier that that can take almost as many passengers as a double decker - and for the rest increase the frequency of the trains. (Or so they say. I'll believe it when I see it...)
I suppose there is a higher ratio of standing people within such trains.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 12:52 PM   #250
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I suppose there is a higher ratio of standing people within such trains.
Almost certainly. But that's not as pernicious as it may sound: the new Bombardier trains have some real room for standing - and very wide doors for easy entry and exit as well. This is unlike the existing double deckers (the Z series) where, during the rush hour, people stand like herrings in a barrel on the platforms next to the doors.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 01:13 PM   #251
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Originally Posted by hans280 View Post
True, but at least in the Paris area the railway companies are beginning to have some second thoughts. The RER lines will remain double deckers, but with the new generation of suburban trains they are moving back from double deckers to one-level trains. One explanation that was given (La Vie du Rail) was that when trains have to stop very frequently double deckers have inefficiently long station stops because it takes extra time to move people up and down the stairs.
That is true, although the particular configuration matters too.

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Their solution is to buy a new generation of wide-bodied and open-space trains from Bombardier that that can take almost as many passengers as a double decker - and for the rest increase the frequency of the trains. (Or so they say. I'll believe it when I see it...)
That works in France, but not in the Netherlands for example. There have been tests with 3+2 seating, and it turns out that most people there prefer to stand rather than use the middle seat in a row of three. 3+2 seating works in France, where people are smaller, but I doubt it would be popular in northern european countries.

anyway, one of the reasons why SBB likes double deck trains is that they still have many single track lines, which makes running extras with a usefull schedule often not practical. So they need to provide maximum capacity on the regular trains. Even then they still manage to run 6tph in each direction on some mostly single track lines.

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Of course the TGVs on the main line Paris-Marseille don't have this problem. They stop maximally 2-3 times underway (and some are non-stop), so the issue of load-times is hardly central.
Loading of TGVs is anyway rather slow because everyone loses time looking for his/her assigned seat...
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Old May 4th, 2011, 01:53 PM   #252
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Almost certainly. But that's not as pernicious as it may sound: the new Bombardier trains have some real room for standing - and very wide doors for easy entry and exit as well. This is unlike the existing double deckers (the Z series) where, during the rush hour, people stand like herrings in a barrel on the platforms next to the doors.
Removing seats for more standing space is not really liked over here. Anyway the solution for the new Siemens S-Bahn are about the same, just for the lower floor. Wide doors, lots of space. And if you need to go further than one or two stations you can find more seats upstairs.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 02:44 PM   #253
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S-Bahn Zürich is considering using single deck trains with more doors and more standees. The capacities can not be increased with double deckers as passenger dwell times are too long. So either they are building more tunnels or use single decker trains to increase capacity.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 02:56 PM   #254
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It is considered, but only for a so called "inner" S-Bahn network. But they already meet massive opposition on having more standees and less seats. Standees are seen by many as an emergency solution.

So it's either standees or double deckers. And so far I still favour double deckers.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #255
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Modern tilting trains have delayed (by a fraction of second) activating mechanisms that avoid the "thrill ride" effect while tilting.

In any case, better than tilting trains is a new, more straight rail line.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 03:21 PM   #256
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In any case, better than tilting trains is a new, more straight rail line.
Indeed. However, in the real world you can't have everything.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 03:27 PM   #257
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S-Bahn Zürich is considering using single deck trains with more doors and more standees.
Haven't heard about that. For the moment they are buying double deck trains as fast as the manufacturers can build them... The last single deck trains on the S-Bahn will disappear soon.
For the S-Bahn Bern double deck trains have been ordered too.
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The capacities can not be increased with double deckers as passenger dwell times are too long.
Dwell times are not that much of a problem. The main east-west S-Bahn tunnel in Zürich has two tracks, opening up to four in the station. That means that they can (and do) run trains every two minutes, with usually a 2 minute stop at Hbf. At all other stations the dwell time is that standard 50 seconds SBB uses for regional trains.
I ride these trains every day, and passenger boarding/alighting does proceed quickly. The trains have pretty fast doors, that usually open simultaneously with the train coming to a stop.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #258
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The dwell times gives the capacity at Stadelhofen, which is the bottleneck and almost at maximum capacity now. Thats why they thinking about to use single deck trains with more doors, less seats and more standees. If the doubledeckers get more crowded they take even a longer dwell time thus reducing line capacity. And 50 Second is also too long for an S-Bahn. They want to cut it to 20-30 seconds. And even more to increase line capacity the complex interline of different lines will not possible anymore. So that means less lines but with higher frequency. I agree that dwell times are reasonable on most station, but the weakest Link is what needs to be considered.
Another problem is that its politically not possible to charge a extra fee for the rush hour. So they do it the other way round. Prices will be the same all the time but they will give up the goal to provide a seat for everybody. Thus you will have to stand during rush hour. On off peak hours there still will be enough seats.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 04:15 PM   #259
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Reducing the expectation of having a seat can have dire consequences in long-term user perception of a transit system. And it all goes downward once standing is considered "normal", it is something that opens a can of worms like "why not remove 20% more seats to increase capacity by another 35% instead of buying expensive new trains"?
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Old May 4th, 2011, 04:32 PM   #260
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Reducing the expectation of having a seat can have dire consequences in long-term user perception of a transit system. And it all goes downward once standing is considered "normal", it is something that opens a can of worms like "why not remove 20% more seats to increase capacity by another 35% instead of buying expensive new trains"?
The Zürich S-Bahn network also serves as mass transit in the inner city area. Quite a few people only travel one or two stops, and don't even bother looking for a seat. For a 2 minute trip (like I do every day) that is not really an issue.

Therefore a layout that offers roomy platforms and wide doors on the lower level, and lots of seats on the upper is a good one for such services.
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