20 September 2016

EMU Brochure

Credit: Stadler Rail Group
This week is InnoTrans 2016, the world's biggest rail industry trade show, held in Berlin, Germany. Stadler has a big presence there, and rolled out an updated website and downloadable brochures. Among them is a preliminary brochure for Caltrain's new KISS EMU, affording the first public glimpse into design details of Caltrain's new fleet.

Key Specs

The Stadler KISS (recently re-branded KISS160) as configured for Caltrain is a high-performance train that will have no issues sharing the corridor with high-speed rail.
  • Power: 6000 kW (8000+ hp)
  • Acceleration: 1 m/s2 from 540 kN (implying a loaded mass of 540 metric tons)
  • Braking: rated at 8000 kW, with most of the energy fed back into the electric grid
  • Vehicle width: 3 meters (comfortably inside US loading gauge)
  • Maximum speed: 110 mph
  • Straight sides, taking full advantage of US loading gauge, unlike European KISS
Train Layout

The six-car EMU shown in the brochure features dual boarding height doors throughout, to share platforms with high-speed rail and to enable Caltrain to transition gradually to gap-free level boarding, to cut down dwell times for the blended system.  The train consists of the following:

ParameterCar 1Car 2Car 3Car 4Car 5Car 6Total
Car typeCabMiddleMiddleMiddleMiddleCab-
Number of powered axles24040212
Seats, lower level3823638638149
Seats, upper level525260526052328
Seats, intermediate level10+21010+161010+1610+296
Seats, total102859210092102573
Bike spaces--40-40-80

As delivered, the upper level boarding doors are sealed and 5 seats are configured longitudinally in each vestibule on the intermediate level, accounting for 10 seats per car. These seats will be temporarily removed during the transition to level boarding with high platforms (when both sets of doors must be cleared of seats), diminishing seating capacity by roughly 10%. Once Caltrain achieves 100% level boarding, that seating can be restored on the lower level of each car.

The layout for all six cars can be viewed by zooming into the original PDF brochure, or more conveniently as individual graphics extracted below.


The seating diagrams reveal that the ADA bathroom displaces 15 seats.

Interestingly, the Stadler diagrams show two wheelchair spaces on the lower level of every car, which appears to imply that ADA wheelchair lifts would be provided in every car to cross between the lower and intermediate levels of each car.

Future Capacity

Caltrain's order from Stadler includes options for another 96 cars, which are planned to be exercised to expand the fleet to 24 trains and lengthen all trains to 8 cars or about 200 m long.

With the seating layout and train car dimensions defined, it is possible to predict the seating capacity of an 8-car train. The basic 6-car train already has all the traction equipment, so the two extra cars would likely be trailer cars similar to cars 3 and 5 above, except without the bike storage area on the lower level. Each of these extra cars would have 60 seats on the upper level, 46 seats on the lower level, and 26 seats on the intermediate level, for a total of 264 added seats. This would bring each train's ultimate capacity to 837 seats and 80 bikes, with plenty of additional space for standees.


  1. All very nice I would say, except how is it going to be funded? Certainly not under the present CalTrain funding scheme, which included over $800 million from High Speed Rail funds, which will never pass the courts, when litigation begins.

  2. Neat, glad to get an early look at these!

    Question, though - are these going to have a lower seated capacity than the existing trainsets? There's a good chance that my memory is off, but I thought that the existing trainsets were already well over 600 seats.

    1. Unequivocally YES the new EMU fleet will have fewer seats per car than the current locomotive-hauled fleet. How embarrassing!

      Some ascribe this to the dual boarding heights, but a careful look at Stadler's layout reveals the true culprit: there is an entire locomotive's worth of traction equipment stuffed in all those cabinets marked with an electric flash symbol. It's hard to hide a locomotive inside the train without displacing a large number of seats.

      Caltrain should have gone five-abreast and I think they will regret not doing so. Maybe there's still time, given Stadler's demonstrated willingness to tinker with car shell dimensions!

    2. which is still weird to me that the electrification project specified a loading gauge capable of running trains as wide as 3.4m, but EMU RFP specified for narrower 3.2m trains, with the Stadler bidding even narrower 3.0m trains. Cost saving, perhaps?

    3. Actually, there are two locomotives worth of electric equipment stuffed into the trains.

      Other comments: For a KISS, the trains are on the lower power rating, considering the 1m/s^2 acceleration (compared to the bls Mutz with 1.3 m/s^2). Considering that, I wonder whether the optional additional cars won't come along with one powered truck…

    4. Has the HSR project settled on a loading gauge yet?

    5. @Joey: CHSRA more or less decided on 3.4m wide loading gauge: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/eir_memos/Proj_Guidelines_TM600_01R0.pdf

    6. @Max: OK, so if we suppose one of the two cars to be added is like car 4 and the other like car 5 without bikes, we get another 100 + 132 seats or 805 seats per 8-car consist, and increase power to 8 MW.

      @Joey: HSR has a composite loading gauge defined in their tech memos that encompasses all the possibilities, including 3.4 m wide Shinkansen. Presumably they had a hand in defining the new platform interface specified by Caltrain for the high doors, 50" above top of rail by 72" from track center. That is plenty of clearance for a 3.4 m wide train.

    7. It is eyebrow raising that they didn't use the entire loading gauge then. Sure it adds a bit of weight and cost, but even if you don't add a fifth seat the extra aisle space seems worth having.

    8. The Bombardier Bi-Level car design has much more efficient use of space. Just consider how cleverly the ADA bathroom is tucked away on those trains compared to with the KISS. For fun, played around with diagrams and came up with this:

      * KISS cars with bathrooms lose space for 10 seats.
      * Bombardier loses 3 seats due to efficient tucking of it.

      Shorter upper deck:
      * Bombardier stuffs 72 seats upstairs
      * KISS has 60 seats upstairs.
      The upper deck is overall shorter to the tune of losing about 3 rows ~ 12 seats

      Without a blueprint diagram, it's unclear why the upper deck is shorter especially on the unpowered cars. Perhaps they need to keep body shells all identical to simplify manufacturing?

      Once caltrain if fully high platform, removing the 4 lower doors should permit adding about 4 seats per door or 16 seats per car... An extra 96 seats per 6 car train gets us to the equivalent capacity of a 5-car bombardier set.

    9. As to the Moscow trains from the airports to the city centers, there are longer cars in the center of the 6-car ones. Here's a link https://wwwstadlerrailcom-live-01e96f7.s3-eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/filer_public/9c/57/9c57a2f9-9ff3-4c1c-aeb8-ac607eee4ba0/kissae0513_en.pdf

    10. Interesting. In the 6-car set, cars 1, 3, 4, 6 are longer, while 2 and 5 are shorter. It's also the short cars that have electrical equipment. If I had to guess, it might be due to extra weight of transformers.

    11. Yeah, the extra weight of the transformers must be it… The thing is that the Aeroexpress trains do not have transformers, because they run under 3000 VDC…

      To me, it looks as if the main reason for the shorter cars were to stay within the (roughly) 150 m length (6 car units) or 100 m length (4 car units).

    12. @max: two locomotives? 6 MW is a little more than a TRAXX, and a little less than a Eurosprinter/ES64/Vectron. It's hardly fair to compare an EMU to diesels!

    13. @kiwi.jonathan: Yes, two locomotives worth of equipment. The KISS has two completely independent drive trains (pantograph, transformer, converters, motors). In addition to that, each motorized bogie is individually controlled.

      Of course, the built-in power is in the Vectron range. However, a vectron type probably could control 6 axles at most.

    14. max: thank you for explaining your viewpoint. I guess we;ll have to disagree about what we respectively call a "locomotive's worth". Sure, the 25kV pantos, transformers, IGBTs, etc. are split into two independent groups. But those still only add up to one locomotive's worth of transformers, IGBTs, IGBT cooling, etc. Not two. (I didn't count pantos, can the whole trainset run off a single panto? Is it the Velaro that has two independent AC busses through the trainset?)

      I grant you the wheel-slip control. But that's microprocessor controlled. Important yes, but not a lot of either volume or mass, incrementally speaking.

    15. It may be that we misunderstand each other… Unless you have a double unit locomotive, you have one transformer, and one control system on a locomotive. Now, with the KISS, there is a variant which does indeed have only one power train (for example, the 3-car set of CFL). The bigger KISSes can be considered as a push-pull set with a locomotive at each end (or almost at each end). However, I am not sure whether the KISS does have a high-voltage line connecting the two units.

  3. As predicted, the ADA access is horrible. For high-level platforms, wheelchair lifts will be needed to get on and off the train. It would actually be preferable for Caltrain to not build any high platforms, leaving the 8" platforms as-is.

    1. I don't follow, because 8" platforms won't need wheelchair lifts to get on and off the train?

      Surely that's not what you meant.

      The 8" lift must be done (twice!) during station dwell, while the 50" lift can be done while the vehicle is in motion. That saves a lot of time & hassle for everyone, and ensures short and predictable dwell times for a reliable blended system. Not sure why this is so hard to grasp.

    2. Existing mini-high platforms can still be used with the lower 22" doors until the platform height is raised.

    3. "Existing mini-high platforms can still be used with the lower 22" doors until the platform height is raised."
      Way to go with the two billion dollar "investment" in "improved" Caltrain "service"!

      Mini-highs until 2040! Or later. Much, much later.

      This is going to be great!

    4. Clem,
      So after $2 billion "investment", we go from requiring 2 lifts to...2 lifts. All that's been done is to move the lift to the inside of the train. And for bikes, all that's been done is to move the stairs from outside to inside the train.

      The situation might have been different if some bikes and wheelchairs could be stored in the vestibule -- but the pictures don't seem to show this possibility. And some of the cars have too much electrical equipment in the way.

    5. All that is only deplorable if you totally ignore the issue of HSR compatibility, or if you believe that the unicorn of low-floor HSR actually exists.

      The Stadler EC250 (remember, the one with 550 mm boarding?) has a "low" floor height of 940 mm, with a step up to a 1200 mm gangway between cars. Videos of the interior are starting to show up on Youtube from InnoTrans, and I think it's fair to say that the idea of a low-floor high-speed EMU is nowhere near being realized. That being said, it's a darn nice train.

      What we get with the Caltrain KISS is a train that allows a gradual transition to level boarding over time (another big logistical and financial puzzle), which in turn enables short and predictable dwell times, which in turn allows more trains to run reliably on the corridor with less timetable padding--something that will be critical when HSR starts sucking up line capacity. We also get shared platforms at Transbay, Millbrae, Redwood City and San Jose, avoiding easily a billion of inefficient HSR-dedicated station infrastructure. No more Diridon Pan-Galactic in the sky.

      Still, one can ignore all these things and complain about bike access.

    6. TIL that the TGV duplex is vapourware....

      BTW, can you provide links to these Innotrans Youtube videos? According to this article posted today, the EC250 will have "step-free" access for both 55cm and 76cm.

      In this youtube video from 2 days ago, the Stadler CEO says "We have always promoted stepless entry in our trains. Step in, not step up is our motto. So we decided to do it with high-speed train as well."

    7. That means, that the entrance area is 55 cm (standard in Switzerland (and I think, also Italy)) or 76 cm (standard in Germany) above rails. Within the car, there will be ramps (or steps) to get to the regular floor heights.

    8. Max,
      I'm not seeing any steps/ramps between the door and main floor area, at least where wheelchairs ride: https://www.zwomp.de/2014/05/20/nose-ec250-sbb/ec250_prm. Existing Stadler low-floor rolling stock is very accessible, and based on youtube videos (and CEO comments), the EC250 seems to have similar layout.

    9. Please, enough with the TGV Duplex already. The TGV Duplex cannot reasonably be made ADA compliant due to the need for interior lifts to reach the lower deck level @ 320 mm, and ADA bathrooms in every car. The TGV Duplex also represents vendor lock-in for a design that represents a minuscule portion of the worldwide supply of HSR train sets, some 90% of which is high-floor single level with no visible signs of market evolution towards bilevel or low-floor solutions. Finally, the TGV Duplex cannot be made as an EMU (the electrical bits are too heavy and the mass budget for the double-deck cars is already too tight), and as a loco-hauled trainset has a marginal adhesion factor to operate on very long 3.5% grades, the likes of which do not exist anywhere in Europe. Fun fact: the seat shells in the TGV Duplex are made of magnesium to save weight, because even aluminum is too heavy.

      Here is a video of interior steps between each car in the Stadler EC250. The brochure is on Stadler's website.

    10. By looking at the videos, the low floor level extends up to the second to last set of seats, which is reached with a ramp; then, there is a step up to the gangway area (over the Jacobs bogies). (note that the Swiss / European accessibility regulations are somewhat less strict than the USAn ADA regulations, when it comes to circulation within the train.

      This is pretty much similar to the FLIRT configuration.

    11. In EC250, you can see a small ramp + step. Something that someday might just be a long ramp.

      BTW, I was in Italy a month ago and saw many stations getting converted to level boarding. At the old stations like in Rome, the extra height added results in extra railings for ramps on platforms for the outer tracks even though they're only adding a few inches. Expect to see tons of railings in places like SB Mountain View platform whenever level boarding appears.

      Thanks for clarifying to the few remaining bits about TGV Duplex... it's always been on my mind.

  4. Looks like overall, these will have about the same seating capacity (if bike spaces are replaced with seats) per 6 car train as the single-level M8s do, except these have 2+2 seating while M8s have 2+3. The M8s do have more bathrooms, so it seems like the main thing being gained by sticking to bilevels is 2+2 seating and bilevel boarding.

    1. The comparison with the M8 is an interesting one.

      Metro North 6-car M8: 4800 kW, 633 seats, 155.4 m, 393 t
      Caltrain 6-car KISS: 6000 kW, 573 seats, 157.1 m, probably around 340 t (empty)

      seats/length: M8 4.1 seats/m, KISS 3.6 seats/m
      weight/seat: M8 620 kg/seat, KISS 590 kg/seat
      power/weight: M8 12 kW/t, KISS 18 kW/t

      By the way, the AW3 load referenced in the brochure assumes full seated load, 3 crew persons, plus 6 standees per m2 of suitable standing space (over 800 standees). In other words a crush load of more than 1400 passengers or about 100 tons. This is probably where a major difference lies: it will be difficult to stuff 800 standees in the narrow aisles of a six-car M8.

      The M8 is 3.2 m wide, so I don't understand why the Caltrain KISS can't be made another 20 cm wider to go 5-abreast. It would help Caltrain's case in securing $647M of FTA "core capacity" funding-- it's kind of hard to argue for that when your seating capacity is actually going to drop! Looking at the seating diagrams above, a fifth seat is worth another 100 seats for a six-car train.

    2. It's the damned if you do, damned if you don't situation- if you install 2+3 seating, sensitive Bay Area snowflakes will complain about having to sit in the middle seat, or the middle seat will be used as a place to dump their bags while grandma stands. OTOH with 2+2, during rush hour, people will be complaining about "cattlecar conditions" while moaning about their poor feetsees and lack of seats(!)

  5. I don't see seating capacity argument with BART's new car. Caltrain should follow the same path of BART, meaning ridership demand requests more "capacity" including standing.
    With this opportunity, we hope Caltrain to become "rapid transit" with useful train frequency 7 days a week. So, I was disappointed when they give up option of 3-car short train consist.
    Lower operating cost (one conductor) is need for increasing frequency with local train, late night and weekend.

    1. Configuring some of their option cars as 4-car EMUs, to be doubled-up to 8 cars during the rush, would be a fine way to run more frequency off-peak without operating costs going through the roof.

      That funky automatic coupler you see in the rendering is fully automatic and performs electrical and pneumatic connections without the need for extensive labor in making or breaking train formations. That is precisely its purpose.

    2. 4-car units would indeed be a good set up, if the maximum train length would be 300 m. This would allow 1, 2, or 3 car consists. Apparently, Caltrain does not have that "luxury". So, their current option is most likely the best compromise.

      In most places where KISS are operating in regional/suburban service, there is exactly one person staff on the train… the driver … no need for conductors.

      About the automatic coupler… On the Z├╝rich S-Bahn network, they strengthen/weaken trains normally when changing direction, and that may have to happen within 5 minutes. Because the trains are autonomous units, brake tests are simplified, which gains quite a bit of time (and besides, there is not much to test with disk brakes, except looking at the indicators on the side of the cars).

    3. I don't think the automatic couplers on Caltrain KISS makes much sense, as they will be rarely used. The minimal train length that would utilize the automatic couplers is 2 X 515.3 ft, only San Francisco and San Jose currently have platforms that can support this. So AAR-H couplers more sense from the view of rescue operations, and it would eliminate the need for coupler adapter.

    4. It depends on time table. BART and VTA light rail do this at station (or nearby pocket track) with one mechanical assistant (BART) within 2 minutes.
      Current "Commuter rail" time table don't necessary coupling/decoupling.

  6. @Clem -- others.

    Caltrain submitted to the FTA this document as part of their process in hoping to obtain the $647 million 5309 grant.

    see: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMQW5KWlNtallPUkk

    On page 5 we read from the table:

    69,000 weekday ridership in 2020
    (The 2020 ridership requires 38 train trip and 6 trains / hour at peak.

    expanding to 111,000 weekday ridership in 2040.
    This would seem to extrapolate to 10 trains / hour at peak in 2040.

    So this brings up the question that as I understand using the 2 track with Passing tracks the capacity of the corridor is 10 trains at peak, yet Caltrain
    is committed to having HSR use 4 trains per hour.

    So the question is, how is this going to fit? Does this mean by 2040 4 tracks will be needed as a possible option?

    1. I think it means they plan to operate 8-car trains with SRO crush loads. An 8-car KISS will carry 800 seated passengers and another 1100 standees, or nearly two thousand people. Because the average trip length is only a bit over 20 miles, a single rush-hour train could serve more than 3000 passengers. Multiply by 6 trains/hour, 6 hours/day of rush (i.e. 36 peak trains per day in each direction, or 72 peak trains per day) and you're in the vicinity of 200,000 weekday passengers. So the figure of 111,000 weekday passengers seems easily attainable without 4 tracks.

  7. So we get UIC EMUs, we get a blended system, gradual transition to high platforms... it seems the design of the system improved a lot from when you started this blog. Did you think this was going to happen? How much influence do you think your writing had?

  8. Something to watch with UK's HS2 efforts. Since HS2 is build to European gauge instead of the small British gauge, double decker trains are possible. Alstom is pitching just that:

    There's also this Aeroliner 3000 being proposed:

    I'm not sure how strict the ADA rules are in UK, but will be interesting to see how that's addressed.

    One idea that's on the Aeroliner 3000, is the first/last "locomotive" cars are single deck EMUs, so conceivably, they could be the dedicated ADA areas.

  9. Indeed it is interesting to compare against HS2 -- because California and the British seem to be making opposite decisions about the platforms. HS2 will be TSI-compliant low floor, and the HS2 platforms at Euston (London terminus) will not be shared with commuter trains, even though it is a very busy station.

    1. It is also interesting to compare London Euston's 24 platform tracks (after HS2 completion) to San Francisco Transbay's 6 platform tracks. Platform sharing is far more important when you have precious few platforms.

    2. Platform sharing can be done if both Caltrain and HSR have same ticket policy (POP vs Fare-gate). It seems too early to determine weather platfrom need to be share or not.

    3. Even so, it is not a minute too early to ensure that Caltrain's new fleet does not preclude platform sharing in the future. EMUs with boarding on the low level only would have precluded platform sharing with HSR until 2050.

    4. Does anyone really still believe HSR will ever arrive on the Peninsula?

    5. Sure it will. Probably not via the route currently planned, and probably not by the date currently planned, but by 2050 I'm pretty sure we will have been up and running for a number of years.

  10. I wish Caltrain would consider a KISS/FLIRT hybrid where one or two single level segments would be spliced in with the double deck cars. The single level cars could be bike and accessible spaces to avoid the internal circulation challenges. Would probably hurt capacity though.

    1. Yeah, a Siemens Desiro HC configuration would have quite a few benefits with regards to dwell time, especially when a lot of wheeled objects (bikes, buggies, wheelchairs) are involved. And since the propulsion is concentrated in the single floor units, the overall capacity reduction compared to an all bi-level train is lowered.


      A downside is the transition from low floor to high floor boarding, though the currently planned transition is not without issues as well.

      Since the number of stations involved is rather limited and most of the stations themselves are very simple (level crossing, very few object on the actual platforms), I would suggest a simple, modular and temporary platform. With competent planning and enough manpower, that could be installed for most if not all platforms within the timeframe of a weekend, on top of the existing platforms:


      And then gradually replace those by more permanent fixtures. The additional costs would be offset by the reduced costs and limitations regarding the new rolling stock. And the modularity of the temporary platform elements guarantees reusability, even outside of the railway application.

    2. I think you've neatly articulated the dilemma of how to transition to level boarding, whatever the ultimate platform height may be. The logistics of a "Big Bang" height transition seem out of reach (in terms of complexity, cost and speed) of a ponderous organization like a U.S. commuter rail agency. We may be in Silicon Valley, but thrift, agility and innovation are in short supply.

      The dual height solution adopted by Caltrain meets all the constraints of the problem (technical as well as political) as posed. Those who oppose the solution fall into two general categories: those who don't understand the constraints, or those who deny that one or more particular constraints exist in the first place. I know that sounds condescending but if there was a third category, consisting of those with a better solution that meets all the constraints, we wouldn't be having all these discussions!

    3. Anonymous: yes a good observation about the Siemens "Desiro HC" product and the single-level cab car "locomotives".

      If you think about how things might possibly work after 2050 when Caltrain maybe, optimistically, gets around to "level boarding" via system-wide 1285mm platforms (and recall that "level boarding" is something that is explicitly not funded, something which all past and present Caltrain construction projects have been outright designed against, to which Caltrain has paid less than zero attention for nearly three decades and counting, and which simply does not matter in any way to anybody at the agency or its consultancies), then the insanity of an (15-seat-eating!) ADA toilet located down a flight of stairs is a total non-starter.

      Either the toilets are going to go altogether, or the bi-level toilet cars are going to be replaced by lift-free, single-level, high-floor end vehicles. At least they'll then have lots of underfloor and roof-top space for the massive number and volume of traction control cabinets that eat up so very much interior revenue space in the Stadler vehicles we'll be receiving.

      (Before you say: "solved via in-train lift", think about what the means in the US context: no way in hell would anybody be allowed to operate such dangerous equipment unaided, which means ... conductors forever. Because nothing undercuts that whole "level boarding means faster and reliable and cheaper and more innovative service" song and dance like "conductors forever". And not just to run the lift, but to supervise every attempt to "level board" the 11.5 inch platform to train door gap at every stop.)

      More likely is that this order and any follow-on options for these Stadler bi-level trains will be past end of life before "level boarding" is even funded, that the super-innovative and THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE set of future high-level doors will never be installed let alone deployed, and that somebody will come to an understanding that bi-levels aren't buying anything anyway and they should just go with single-level high-floor full-width trains to go with their way-off high-level HSR-compatible platforms ... all for the HSR which isn't coming for decades and decades.

    4. "meets all the constraints of the problem (technical as well as political) as posed"

      "Immutable constraints" are such as long as it is profitable (to America's Finest rent-seeking contract-percentage-skimmers) for them to be so.

      When there's a chance the cash fire hose might sputter out, then, oh look, the regulations have just changed, what a surprise!

      California HSR routing via Tejon (and Pacheco) is another example of an utterly unchangeable technical and political constraint. As its CHSR maximum 30 minute Transbay-SJ revenue service timing. (i.e. Until ...until ... until ... it isn't.)

  11. Maybe it's me, but it feels like existing EMU designs from Europe, do not take full advantage of the American loading gauge to pack components efficiently into available space.

    There are many rooms for improvement:
    * Compare the bathroom design of Bombardier vs KISS.
    * Articulated bogies to provide more double-deck space or more space for "locomotive" parts

    Maybe it's just me, but it seems like double-deck articulated EMUs are still a nascent market, so manufacturers are still tinkering with the most efficient layout. While passengers want room, operators want easy cleaning, easy maintenance, low axle load to lower track maintenance.

    Neither Desire HC, nor french TER 2N (http://www.finnmoller.dk/rail-fr/ter-2n-ng/sncf-z26500-449.jpg) nor are articulated either. Perhaps we need to wait a few more years for small traction motors part of AGV make it down to suburban trains.

    1. Martin,

      All your observations have been excellent.

      The seating capacity of Caltrain's single-bidder trains is indeed quite shocking, and note this is coming from about the biggest Stadler fanboy out there. (The instant I experienced what had been done with Stadtbahn Zug and the FLIRTs a decade ago I knew what the future ought to be, and that there were smart engineers out there who could deliver.)

      The issue, of course, is that in LTK Engineering Services, DBA "Caltrain", modern rail service providers have about the worst possible client on the entire planet, and they're going to either fail (thank God Ansaldo-Breda wasn't in the running), not bid due to insane requirements or clear danger signs of client incompetence (everybody in the world aside from Stadler), or take a deep deep breath and decide that maybe it's possible to break even and emerge without the corporate reputation ruined, which seems to be what Stadler Rail, alone in the world, decided.

      I think the best we can hope for is that Stadler doesn't lose too badly building the turkeys the clients wants, and is able to continue supplying innovative rail vehicles to customer-oriented clients elsewhere around the world.

      The LTK-specified narrow width of the trains is not just harmful because of the loss of 2+3 seating capacity, but just consider what Clem's far-far-far-off (around 2040 or 2050, optimistically) fantasy of "level boarding" will be like: a stupidly narrow 3000mm wide car body matching up with platform edges at an LTK-specified 1829mm from the track centreline with a maximum 39mm gap: that's a minimum of 291mm (11.5 inches!) of "platform filler" gap that has to be bridged (and bridged is the word!) at every door at every stop! Oh, and ADA requires that the bridge support 270kg super-sized American wheelchair loads. Those "gap fillers" are going to be something to behold.

      Even aside from ADA whackiness, the everyday reasonable person falling hazard into this foot-wide platform-train is going to be crazy!
      Imagine navigating from the platform across to the train door if you're blind or visually impaired.
      Imagine teetering across this foot-long "level boarding" bridge if not well skilled crutches, with a cane, or even in a wheelchair.

      It's a non-starter.

      But then again, there's no chance in hell actual real-world we-hate-providing-service Caltrain will be serving Clem's fantasy high platforms any time in the next several decades, so it's mini-highs, "low level" (i.e. right level!) doors only, and no level boarding until after I am dead.

      Hooray! Mission accomplished, LTK and PBQD!

    2. Martin

      "Compare the bathroom design of Bombardier vs KISS."

      I have no special insight, but Stadler aren't dummies, and I'd put this down entirely to an insanely inept client in the shape of LTK DBA Caltrain.

      The client doesn't care about seated capacity or really much about interior revenue space at all, so the sole global bidder does as little work as is needed to modify its existing designs (for cramped loading gauges) to the specifications of the clients.

      Lose a bunch of seats because the toilet on the Caltrain EMUs goes where the big toilets go on other Stadler products? Not a problem with the client, so not a problem for the bidder!

      "Articulated bogies to provide more double-deck space or more space for "locomotive" parts"

      There's that, or some variant, in spades, but as we know LTK Engineering Service and buddies are all about "cars" and not "trains". (Fun fact: the same thing happened at BART, where not-articulated but wide-gangway, higher-capacity, passenger-friendly trains were outlawed by BART's retarded maintenance section dinosaurs. America's Finest, delivering as only they can!)

      Things that most drew my attention include that the sizes and numbers of interior traction equipment cabinets appear to be identical to those of Stadler's existing offerings. No surprise there, after all, the client didn't ask for lots of space for passengers! But one can't help but wonder whether a less stupid client might have provoked any Stadler-quality bidder to consider what extra space might be "found" in the larger (wider, taller) loading gauge, and how equipment might be redistributed to open up more nominally interior space.

      The other thing which is obvious, and that you pointed out above, is how small and un-capacious the upper levels of the Stadler Caltrain EMUs are compared to the existing Bombardier trailers. To me, again, Occam's Razor suggests "incompetent and uncaring client", not "stupid Swiss".

      But yeah, it's far from clear to me (after over 20 years of yelling "EMU EMU EMU!") that there's any sort of win here compared to buying some electric locomotives and more Bombardier trailers. Consider that the only thing Caltrain will use EMU "performance" for is ... making additional stops at Atherton and Broadway stations. Consider that level boarding has now been kicked down the road 20+ years, absolutely guaranteed. If they'd gone full-fleet Bombardier there might have been a chance of actual level boarding (at 575mm or thereabouts) sometime before I'm dead, but now there isn't.

      Is the ability to make more stops at Atherton and compatibility with 100%-mythical PBQD-style HSR worth the significant lss of seating and standing interior capacity? Not at all clear to me, not at all clear. A truly sad state of affairs.

    3. Hi Richard, thanks for stopping by. I'm not sure if there's a need to quibble with the actual product choice-- Here we are in America and we're getting essentially the same state-of-the-art train as the Zurich S-Bahn! That's something I didn't expect. As the layout diagrams reveal, the relatively low seating capacity is due primarily to the inherent configuration of the KISS (high power to weight trades away space) and not particularly the dual boarding heights. I doubt the seat count would be much higher if there were no doors on the mid-level.

      That being said, I fully agree that Caltrain and LTK are making a mistake by not making the car shell wider, whether or not they go five-abreast. Space is space, however you use it.

      What is indeed deplorable is the cost and agency overheads, but that is how our government acquisition system is rigged here in the U.S. Same exact deal in aerospace, by the way. There is not much use in tilting at that particular windmill.

      I don't share your skepticism about level boarding. The phrase used to be completely absent from Caltrain plans, and now regularly comes up as a core feature of "CalMod 2.0." Progress!

    4. @Clem. So should we consider the 3.0 m Stadlers baked in now ? How colossally short-sighted. Are Caltrain determined to have curved platform faces somewhere, then?
      Tfl are having to live with a rise in "mind-the-gap" injuries because there are a lot of curved platforms ( see: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/new-tube-trains-blamed-for-dramatic-rise-in-people-falling-down-the-gap-on-london-underground-a7067791.html)

      With 3.0 m wide trains we can have lots of accidents WITHOUT curved platforms. #EpicfailCaltrain

    5. Thanks @Michael D for the link to the interesting story:

      "An increase in the number of people falling into the gap between the train and the platform on certain London Underground lines has been blamed on the introduction of new Tube trains.

      "The S-stock trains, which have walk-through carriages and are lower than older Tube trains, have been designed to allow proper wheelchair access to the Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines, but the new design means that a wider gap is created when the train is on a curved platform.

      "The data, uncovered through a Freedom of Information request by the Evening Standard, showed a total of 307 incidents were recorded across the Tube lines in 2015, an increase of a third since the new trains started to be rolled out in 2010. Before the introduction of the £1.5bn fleet the average number of gap-related accidents was between 90 and 100 a year."

    6. @Michael D: I sure hope they review the vehicle width upwards. The draft RFP for HSR rolling stock required vehicles at least 3.2 m wide (see section 7.2 of draft tech specs). The HSR trainset final RFP is due out any moment now so we'll soon know better. An extra 10 cm on each side of Caltrain's EMU means a smaller platform gap, wider interior stairs, wider aisles, more standing room, etc. There's no significant downside. Considering that Stadler is already making a custom car shell for Caltrain, it seems ill-considered not to take full advantage of the available clearance envelope!

    7. @Clem and @Michael: Besides that, it is not that Stadler does not know how to build wider carbodies, as the Aeroexpress cars are 3.4 m wide. In fact, Stadler builds what gets ordered.

  12. @Martin, as I recall, Caltrain's EMU RFP expressly specified non-articulated designs.

    Further, I heard the reason for this was for ease of (un)coupling because something about Caltrain's San Jose Central Equipment & Maintenance Facility (CEMOF) not being able to fit some multiple of 8-car EMUs without breaking them apart.

    Sounds a bit nutty, but plausible. Can anyone familiar confirm and/or further clarify LTK/Caltrain's rationale for rejecting articulation?

    1. One reason against articulated bi-levels could be weight. Unless you have very short carbodies, such as the TGV-2N types, you get pretty quickly to high axle loads.

      Just so, the only articulated bi-level design I am aware of is an old design by the DR, where two carbodies shared a Jacobs Bogie. But even these cars had shorter carbodies than regular cars.

    2. How can anyone possibly be unaware of the Bombardier Omneo? Hardly a board meeting went by over the past year without this articulated bilevel EMU being mentioned during public comments.

    3. @Max good point about the weight. On one hand, American loading gauge typically is friendlier to high axle loads, but on the other hand you lose all that low operational costs associated with light weight vehicles.

      Seems like there needs to be a compromise between:
      * Shorter cars but articulated
      * Longer cars, but separate bogies

      I think that over a length of a train, articulation wins. You'll have less bogies for a similar train length, and remember that for each bogie, you're giving up the 2nd deck...

    4. @Clem,
      We were thinking of articulated EMUs where EVERY car is double deck. With Omneo, only every other car has two decks, but I think we are starting to understand why... The motor, transformer and other "locomotive parts" are still too large to fit efficiently under floors or on roofs.

    5. @Martin: Bi-levels are a suitable design for medium capacity needs, because – even with triple-wide doors – and level boarding, dwell time at the stops gets too long (that's why there are no bi-level subways).

      For longer distances, the bi-level design does work reasonably well, as the primary deck would be the upper level (as seen in the Santa Fe Hi-level cars, the Superliners, the TGV-2N and the SBB IC2000 cars. This setup is, however, not ready for fast passenger exchange, and may easily get in conflict with the ADA regulations (in the US).

      Another argument against articulated train sets has been mentioned: maintenance facilities. They have to be set up accordingly, and are potentially more expensive than for non-articulated trains (even if coupling/uncoupling of cars can only be done in the faciltiy).

    6. @MAX. Heh. Maybe getting articulated trains will force caltrain to redo CEMOF and get rid of the CEMOF curves? We can dream, right? :)

    7. CEMOF is located where it is because of Union Pacific being unwilling to have Caltrain trains cross its main line to access a maintenance facility that would have been where the Lenzen roundhouse was located ( to the east).

    8. I see. It does make sense in that regard.

      I suppose it's still conceivable to have built CEMOF with UP tracks going around the curve and Caltrains tracks proceeding straight, but that might have created other issues as well.

  13. @Clem, this table from the French Wikipedia shows Omneo has comparable seating capacity as more traditional arranged trainsets: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regio_2N#Motorisation_et_freinage
    It also shows Omneo is a slow accelerating train, at 0.79 m/s^2

    1. That's only low-speed (adhesion-limited) acceleration. The Omneo has a mere 2.4 - 3.2 MW traction system, compare to 6 MW for the KISS. Giddy up!

  14. http://i0.wp.com/bungalower.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/SunRail-Cab-Car-Layout.png

    This is the layout of Sunrail cab car that I found online. Comparing to the proposed Caltrain KISS layout on the ADA bathroom, the one biggest difference is on the wheelchair turning space, where the Bombardier cars utilize the space near the doors and thus doesn't need to be included in the bathroom, while the Caltrain KISS ADA bathroom needs to include it in the module. Also, the version in the Bombardier BiLevel coach seems to be wider, as there is no space for seats on the other side of the bathroom, while the Caltrain KISS can still have one row of single seats.

  15. I am definitely coming to this late, but...

    I often disagree with Richard Mlynarik, but I must commend him on being the only commenter here who discussed the handicapped and also realized they would not be bathing en route.

  16. Man, this blog is such a wealth of information. Is there a local train gurus meetup ever? I have so many questions ...

    Will any of the Stadler cars be delivered and put into service as locomotive-pulled cars before the electrification is complete? Otherwise, we are going to be stuck with the gallery cars for *years*, which is enough to make me want to move back to east bay. How can they possibly be so loud and rough? jeeeez

  17. During the transitioning period what will people with wheelchairs and pushchairs do?