28 July 2019

Emergency Exit Fail

Caltrain's new EMU train cars have an unusual configuration with two sets of doors. The lower level doors will be used at existing Caltrain stations, while the intermediate level doors (above the wheels at the ends of each car) are intended to be used at an undetermined date in the 2030s once these trains begin sharing stations with California high-speed rail, which will use high-floor trains and high platforms with boarding at about 50" above the rail. The California High-Speed Rail Authority, which Caltrain cryptically refers to as "external stakeholders," required this design feature as a condition of funding Caltrain's modernization to the tune of $750M, to maintain the option of sharing platforms at future HSR stations in San Francisco, Millbrae and San Jose.

The Original Plan

To maximize the short-term seating capacity of the new trains until the 2030s, Caltrain specified that the intermediate level should have temporary flip-up seats installed in front of the unused doors, five per door vestibule, with the seating blocking off the doors like this:
Configuration of intermediate level in A, B, C, E, and G cars
Because EMU cars are filled with electrical cabinets (labeled with yellow lightning bolts), the seating capacity of the train is reduced compared to a conventional train. This is the price you pay for not having a locomotive; all the bits that make the train go still need to find a place, which makes for a challenging packaging problem in a bi-level train. The reduced seating capacity of the train has been controversial and makes these temporary seats quite important. For each 7-car train, there are 70 of these intermediate level flip-up seats that make up a non-trivial 10% of the overall seating capacity of 667.

At some undetermined future date when the intermediate doors would be needed for compatibility with high platforms, the blue flip-up seating modules would be removed from the intermediate level.

A Regulatory Conundrum

In the design of any new train, federal safety regulations require that any passenger seating compartment be fitted with at least two emergency exit windows (for passenger egress) and two rescue access windows (for first responder ingress). The intermediate level counts as a passenger compartment because these flip-up seats are located within it. However, the intermediate level does not have what regulations consider to be a window; the only opening to the outside is through the doors. This set up a conflict with safety regulations.

In late 2017, Caltrain petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration for a waiver (docket FRA-2018-0003) by arguing that the emergency release feature of the doors would provide an equivalent level of safety, despite not meeting the letter of the regulation, allowing emergency access by climbing over the seat backs.

In June 2018, the FRA denied Caltrain's request because the flip-up seating installed longitudinally such that it blocks the doors could impede egress and access and therefore did not meet the intent of the regulation. The FRA stated that "the absence of need for these intermediate level doors to support current revenue boarding and alighting requirements does not negate the necessity for an unobstructed path in the event of an emergency." Curiously, this unobstructed path requirement applies only to doors, not to windows!

Implicitly, Solution A is to remove all seating from the intermediate level of the affected cars, which effectively sidesteps the emergency window requirement. But given that seating in Caltrain's EMUs is already quite limited, this solution seems like a non-starter as it would reduce seating capacity of a 7-car train by 9% from 667 seats to just 617 seats.
Solution A: not a passenger seating compartment
The FRA helpfully suggested some other possibilities.

Solution B: equip the intermediate level doors with a regulation-size emergency window of minimum dimensions 26" wide by 24" high. Unfortunately, that is too large for the dual-leaf design of the train doors; in other words, the window in each door leaf is too narrow to function as an emergency window.
Solution B: the minimum clear opening is too big for dual-leaf doors
Solution C: replace the intermediate level doors with a plug panel (essentially, a structural wall panel that does not function as a door) fitted with a regulation-size emergency window of minimum dimensions 26" wide by 24" high, until such time as the door-blocking seating is removed, the panel is removed, and the doors and platform bridge plates are re-installed.

Solution C: doors replaced by plug panels
Caltrain is now in the process of pursuing Solution C, plug panels. This change order is expected to cost about $4 million total up front, about $30000 per car, or $7000 per door. When intermediate-level doors are required a decade or more from now, a net sum of approximately another $10 million ($14 million future installation cost to be set aside, minus $4 million of door maintenance savings) would be needed to retrofit them. That is a LOT of money for a change that fundamentally reduces and complicates compatibility with HSR stations and platforms.

Other Solutions

There are other solutions that strike a better balance of functionality and simplicity without a seven-figure cost impact.

Solution D: short of removing all the seating from the intermediate level vestibule, the regulations require only one emergency window (instead of two) if there are four or fewer seats in the compartment. Removing seats from one side only and applying for a new waiver to allow unobstructed use of one of the doors in lieu of a single emergency window could work, addressing the FRA's stated concern with door obstruction. This would reduce seating capacity of a 7-car train by just 22 seats or 3% (5 seats lost in cars A and B, and 4 seats lost in cars C, E and G).
Solution D: reduced seating with unobstructed emergency access
Solution E: reconfigure the mounting bracket for the flip-up seating so that seats flip up and out of the way of the doors when not used, allowing the unimpeded use of both doors in lieu of emergency windows. This solution requires applying for a new waiver to allow the use of doors in lieu of emergency windows, but also addresses the FRA's stated concern with door obstruction. Placing the flip up seats in this manner would reduce the clear width of the door opening by a couple of inches on each side, from 51" to about 47", with no reduction to seating capacity.
Solution E: change flip-up seating orientation to provide unobstructed door access
(flip-up seats are shown in use; they fold flush against wall when not occupied)
Solution E would require no modifications whatsoever when the intermediate level doors are needed in the future, and could be implemented at all doors throughout the train including the lower level, adding seating capacity. Seats placed in doorways may sound like a bad idea, but in a crowded train, social signaling fairly quickly communicates to occupants of these seats that it's time to stand up and make way. This is the French "strapontin" seating in common use on some of the busiest rail lines in Paris:

Flip-up seats in a doorway of a brand new Bombardier EMU on Paris RER line D.
(foreground at left) credit: Wikipedia / KiHa 52
Indeed, the photo above, taken inside the same Bombardier EMU often vaunted in front of the Caltrain board by a certain member of the public as having so much more seating than Stadler's EMU, shows one of the secrets of achieving very high seating densities: flip-up seating in all doorways. The other three secrets are five-abreast seating, not having as much space dedicated to bikes, and lower acceleration performance that requires fewer electrical cabinets, leaving more space for seats. After adjusting for these four factors, it turns out that the Bombardier EMU provides no higher seating density than the Stadler EMU.

Ultimately, it is entirely possible that Caltrain simply does not wish to interface with high-speed rail in any station as a matter of policy, because it would require sharing and collaborating with another agency, and solving a somewhat complicated ADA compliance problem. Which agency would voluntarily bring that upon itself? Caltrain already took the HSR money, and installing plugs will "erase" the clunky and unpalatable concession they made in the name of compatibility, with the further bonus of not requiring another run at the FRA for a new waiver. The complicated ADA compliance issues associated with interior lifts are kicked as far down the road as possible!

No matter how you look at it, Caltrain's chosen approach is a ~$15 million mistake that reduces and complicates compatibility with HSR stations and platforms. There are cheaper, simpler and easier ways to achieve compliance with emergency window regulations. It's not too late to change course.

83 comments:

  1. "Ultimately, it is entirely possible that Caltrain simply does not wish to interface with high-speed rail in any station as a matter of policy, because it would require sharing and collaborating with another agency, and solving a somewhat complicated ADA compliance problem. Which agency would voluntarily bring that upon itself?"

    Ckem, in your assessment does this mean that Caltrain has given up on level boarding entirely? Allegedly this was supposed to be part of the business plan.

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    1. I think for a long time there wasn't complete agreement on the value of level boarding, nor how to go about implementing it. They didn't have the bandwidth to think about it thoroughly. The business plan effort is changing this gradually. They do have a very strong preference for doing level boarding at 550 mm (lower level) which is why the high doors are so unpopular.

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  2. Call my cynic, but I'd much rather see $15 mistakes that still leave us with workable system than the PTC debacles.

    Solution D is probably playing on a technicality. The idea of windows on both sides is in case the train falls on its side. I might be work, but I'd guess the exception for just 1 window is probably applied only to trains with compartments on one side and hallway on the other side.

    I like your solution E - although I realize, it's something done elsewhere. Which brings up a point of why Stadler didn't propose such a solution to Caltrain. After all, they would understand the needs for evacuations and have some experience with regulations around the world - some of which would drive that solution.

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  3. Who said that this was Caltrain's problem to solve???
    https://www.era.europa.eu/sites/default/files/library/docs/opinion-advice/opinion_era-opi-2015-10_en.pdf

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    1. Very nice summary of a complex subject, although the policy goals may differ. For example, page 9, "Unassisted boarding is not at the moment an explicit objective in either the RSSB's platform-train interface strategy or the TSI's." Unassisted boarding needs to be an explicit objective here: dwell time roulette is not a game you play on a corridor as busy as Caltrain will eventually become.

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    2. Here you go: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/rail/interoperability/interoperability/prm-tsi_en

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  4. You clearly outdid yourself this time:

    1) You posted a picture or a Regio 2N CAB CAR instead of one of the single-level traction power units

    2) Please provide a picture of a Regio 2N BI-LEVEL PASSENGER CAR "with electrical cabinets (labeled with yellow lightning bolts)". Clue: you won't because all the electrical equipment is located either above the ceiling or below the floor of the single-level traction power units

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    1. I fail to see how the "CAB CAR" has different flip-up seats than the other cars, but here's another photo to illustrate my point that there are seats placed in front of all the doors, on a Parisian train that serves traffic densities that Caltrain can only dream of.

      Regarding electrical equipment: it's apples and oranges. If you want the same anemic acceleration performance as a Regio 2N, you can delete a bunch of electrical equipment in the Stadler EMU by simply changing the consist. Delete power car E (-100 seats), add unpowered all-seating car H (+132 seats), and remove all traction equipment from cab cars (+8 seats each). That's +48 seats just from deleting the extra-performance cabinets.

      Now get rid of half the bike space (minus one bike car, +43 seats), add five-abreast seating (+86 seats upstairs, +16 intermediate level, +56 downstairs; yes the Stadler is wider than the Regio 2N), and add 6 Paris-style strapontins to each lower door vestibule (+96 seats)

      Just by playing with the interior layout to make it more like your Regio 2N, I've increased the 8-car Stadler EMU from a seating capacity of 799 (baseline) to a monstrous 1144 seats. Using only a pencil, I jacked up the seating density by 43% to a generous 5.5 seats/meter of train length. It doesn't take a PHD (Porteur Hyperdense) to pack in that many seats.

      For years you had this mistaken for a Bombardier vs. Stadler issue, but all along it was just a sad little matter of interior layout choices.

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    2. "Au total, 520 places assises fixes et 62 strapontins sont proposés dans une rame de 110 m. Les trains d'hyperpointe seront assurés en UM3, avec une capacité assise totale de 1746 places"

      Are we having fun yet?

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    3. Here is a wonderful table showing:

      - "Seated capacity incl. tip-up 2+2 / 2+3 seating"
      - "Number of toilets (incl. 1 for wheelchair user)"

      https://www.bombardier.com/content/dam/Websites/bombardiercom/Events/Supporting%20Documents/BT/bombardier-transportation-OMNEO-brochure-en.pdf (page 9)

      Enjoy!!!

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    4. What I'm really enjoying right now is that you haven't yet bothered to divide the 1144-seat capacity of my Stadler EMU-8 (with interior layout suitably reconfigured for maximum seating capacity) by its length of 209.8 m, and compared the resulting linear seating density to the same metric for your Regio 2N. Try it.

      If you did that simple division, you would prove my point that seating density is a matter of interior layout choices.

      Again, the four key factors are:
      - lower performance --> more compact traction equipment
      - five-abreast seating
      - flip-up seating in all doorways
      - limited bike space

      None of those factors are intrinsic to one train or another! Caltrain chose to configure its EMU with:
      - very high performance (BART-like!)
      - four-abreast seating
      - lower-deck vestibules without seats
      - tons of bike space, relative to world standard practice

      Pining for a different brand of train won't change that. It's like Boeing versus Airbus arguments when the entire difference comes down to airline-specific interior configuration choices.

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    5. What I am really enjoying right now is that you also (deliberately?) missed the "Power at rail (MW)" which shows 6.4 MW for a 216.4 M train without a single "electrical cabinet (labeled with yellow lightning bolts)" in sight. 8 MW is there for the asking by people who are not responsible for energy bills.

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  5. Re "anemic acceleration":
    "Côté performances, l'essai n'est pas totalement représentatif, car on se hâte avec lenteur sur la rive droite. Avec une accélération à 0,6 m/s², le Régio2N en version 110 m et 3 bogies moteurs n'est certes pas un foudre de guerre, mais c'est - un peu - mieux que la Z5600 6 caisses qui plafonne à 0,53 m/s². Dommage que le STIF n'ait pas privilégié une version à 4 bogies moteurs qui aurait permis de monter à environ 0,75 m/s²."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Starting acceleration (limited by tractive effort) is one thing, yes. Sustaining that acceleration to higher speeds (limited by power) is another, and also determines how quickly you reach full speed. The metrics you quote don't tell the full story; the Regio 2N has low power (in round numbers, 2.4 MW for a 100 m train; Caltrain is 8 MW for a 200 m train).

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  6. Help me understand something. Let's pretend it's 2030, and Caltrain trains are serving some some number of high-speed rail stations that have higher ("intermediate") level boarding. A person that can't do stairs will be able to ENTER a Caltrain train at one of those stations, using the higher doors - but where's that person going to RIDE, if there are no seats anywhere on that level, or anyplace a wheelchair can stay?

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    1. There would be an interior lift inside each car, rated for 800 lb, to reach the lower level. Initially, Caltrain is only installing two lifts per train, between the bathroom car (C car) and the adjacent cab car (B car).

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  7. OT and ABSOLUTELY H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S
    https://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/track/Part_B-2-2-1_TS1_2-1-Systemwide_Alignment_Schematic-2019-0501.pdf

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    1. It takes real effort to do Every Single Thing Wrong and do it Every Single Time.

      There is nothing -- nothing -- in this schematic that makes the slightest operational or economic sense.

      Death is too kind a fate for these ignorant, incompetent, rent-seeking, hostile, and limitlessly stupid sub-cretins.

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    2. Wait until you find out where this came from: yes, ladies and gentlemen, Diridon, 4th & King & Gilroy (and everything in between) are 100 % ready for design/build contracts!!!
      https://www.hsr.ca.gov/business/contractors/track_and_systems.aspx

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  8. FYI ---

    I can't read the article in today's LA Times (behind the paywall), but the headline is:

    In A Blow To The Bullet Train, California Might Shift Billions To L.A. And Bay Area Projects

    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-07-28/california-redirects-funds-high-speed-rail-project

    From what I could glimpse, improving MetroRail between Anaheim to Burbank, improving Interstate 5, and improving Caltrain to SF, would be made the top priorities [the Summer Olympics will be in LA in 2028].

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    1. I don't see how it impedes or prevents CHSRA's goals though, so long as Pacheco is financed. Metrolink needs their own track to make reliable service plausible, at least from Burbank to LA Union Station. This will require at least two new tracks and five station rebuilds (including LAUS run-through tracks), if not 3-4 tracks if turnouts at stations prove implausible. If construction began in '23, Metrolink would be ready for express trains by '27 about when construction for Mojave tunnels would occur. CHSRA might even be able to add a surcharge onto Metrolink and Surfliner tickets, giving them revenue.

      The danger isn't so much rebuilding Metrolink as it is getting CHSRA involved in the mess that has become the Caltrain DTX/2nd TBT. SF has shown it can screw things up much worse than LA.

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    2. Read the article without the pay-wall at:

      https://www.omaha.com/news/nation/in-a-blow-to-the-bullet-train-california-might-shift/article_82d8c557-b509-5f56-9f8f-0bfa899223fd.html

      ( also you might turn off private viewing, which should allow direct viewing on the LA Times site (BTW, this was the Front page of the Times today 7-30-2019)

      Airtalk Radio had Vartabedian in a discussion of his article, along with 2 other guests. This can be heard at: 32 minutes

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wle67jgdxofKsp5FZN2Y0ndl1NVO1r7k/view?usp=sharing

      Airtalk is hoping to have Brian Kelly on the radio tomorrow.


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    3. I think some Prop 1a issues will block a Burbank to LA Union transfer of funds. To list a few prop1 requirements:

      (2) the need to test and certify trains operating at speeds of 220 miles per hour

      2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant to this
      chapter shall be designed to achieve the following characteristics:
      (a) Electric trains that are capable of sustained maximum revenue operating
      speeds of no less than 200 miles per hour.

      (3) Eighty percent (seven hundred sixty million dollars ($760,000,000)) of
      the amount authorized by this section shall be allocated upon appropriation as
      set forth in this section to eligible recipients, except intercity rail, as described
      in subdivision.

      I think SoCal needs to come up with a plan first before they start spending monies. Caltrains had their electrification plan ions ago and waited for eternity, it seemed like, before they got full funding.

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    4. If you believe (and I don't), Ara Najarian. who was on the Airtalk program cited about, Metrolink has shovel ready projects to use any and all funds directed their way.

      Starting soon will be the money war between the south, the north and the CV,all trying to spend any funds available. The big loser is sure to be the CV.

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  9. My biggest fear is that if they don't finish what they started in the Valley the Valley will never get finished. California will end up with a California System North and a California System South and the Prop 1A requirements of SF-LA will get lost ad infinitum. Maybe not a bad thing but not what the voters approved.

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    1. California will end up with a California System North and a California System South system that beats the Prop 1A requirements of SF-LA by 10-20 minutes the day it forgets about the Pacheco and Mojave tunnels.

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    2. https://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2019/07/30/64734/local-groups-ready-rail-plans-as-california-consid/

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    3. Yes, but regardless of routes, Merced and Bakersfield will be included. They don't build to them now, they will never have tracks.

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    4. You don't understand... Merced and Bakersfield are on a FEEDER line (REAL high speed lines avoid cities like the plague!)
      Oh and BTW, what is your plan for Paso Robles and the CrossValley link?

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    5. I couldn't agree more that towns like Merced should be bypassed. I believe Merced is listed as a station in Prop1 though. Bakersfield isn't a bad stop for HSR. France has several cities along its HSR routes with lesser populations.

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. Here is the end of the Paris-Bordeaux high speed line (LGV SEA):

      Satellite:https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bordeaux,+France/@44.9306735,-0.4926111,304m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0xd5527e8f751ca81:0x796386037b397a89!8m2!3d44.837789!4d-0.57918

      Flyover: https://youtu.be/3BIF7j9DJvU?t=1782

      Any questions?

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    8. Questions to what? A map?

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    9. http://diamant-ltd.com/france-train-map-tgv/france-hsr-update-inspirational-france-train-map-tgv/

      Many French towns smaller than Bakersfield have or will have HSR before it ever gets built to Bakersfield.

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    10. Let's try again (Poitiers)...

      1) Raccordement Poitiers Nord: https://youtu.be/3BIF7j9DJvU?t=520
      2) Raccordement de Fontaine-Le-Comte: https://youtu.be/3BIF7j9DJvU?t=659

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    11. Ok, I think I got it. You have a fetish for French HSR videos?

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    12. 3 French Bakersfields ordering new trains due to high demand:

      https://www.francetvinfo.fr/economie/transports/sncf/sncf-la-commande-surprise-de-l-ete_3559315.html

      http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/france-population/cities/

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    13. Kindly help me understand which part of "high speed lines avoid cities like the plague" it is that you do not understand.

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    14. https://www.tunneltalk.com/images/article-1187/image3.jpg

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    15. yes, but Europe is a far cry from the density and cost to acquire urban land then the US.

      Densities:

      Bakerfield: 2,543 sq mi
      Birmingham: 11,000 sq mi


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    16. For discussions of statewide California HSR network design and construction phasing, may I suggest Altamont Press or Trainorders? Not here, please.

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  10. The high level doors are never going to be used.

    The concept was moronic. Worse than moronic, because it gave the grifters and scammers and rent-seekers and non-achievers who bleed us dry while never delivering any service yet another out to promise to consider thinking about preliminary conceptual frameworks for studying alternatives to level boarding mañana mañana mañana mañana.

    "High level" level boarding is stupid.

    High speed rail isn't coming to San Francisco any time, and certainly not within the service lifetime of these too-narrow, far-too-little-revenue-space, far-too-little-roof-mounted-equipment, far-too-few-seats far-far-far-far-far-far-far-far-far-too-expensive far-too-few-sets trains.

    Just stop it. Give up. Five-abreast single-level low-floor was what should have been ordered, and delivered and in service a decade ago.

    Death is too kind a fate for anybody in any way connected with LTK Engineering Services, or any of the other millions-per-car grifters (not Stadler -- they're just happy to take idiot's money, good for them) who have dumped this pile of crap upon us.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's awkward and clunky, yes, but it responded logically and self-consistently to a set of regulatory constraints in a way that made sense, before the concept got undermined and watered down. High level boarding isn't inherently stupid, or the entire Paris RER is stupid too, which I'm fairly certain isn't the case.

      Yes they could have specified wider car bodies to make more comfortable five-abreast seating, but bear in mind the Caltrain Stadler is wider than the 5-abreast Omneo, so again the same point I've been making to Roland is valid here: the low seating capacity of the Caltrain Stadler is purely a matter of Caltrain's interior configuration choices. Not body width, not roof-mounted-this-or-that, etc. Those are red herrings.

      The question should always be how you move forward today-- coulda-shoulda-wouldas and undoing the past is simply not a viable option. I know it's hard to let go, I struggle with it myself, but pining for a different reality is just pissing into the wind.

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  11. "Bear in mind the Caltrain Stadler is wider than the 5-abreast Omneo".
    Do you know how to read English or do you habitually make up useless shit for your lapping groupies?

    "Pining for a different reality is just pissing into the wind."
    Just like the I-ITCS CBOSS fiasco switch to Wabtec's I-ETMS, right?

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    1. No I don't know how to read English, but I do know how to read metric.

      Bombardier Omneo double-deck car shells are 2.99 m wide
      Caltrain Stadler car shells are 3.00 m wide

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    2. "Width of single deck vehicles (m) 3.05"
      https://www.bombardier.com/content/dam/Websites/bombardiercom/Events/Supporting%20Documents/BT/bombardier-transportation-OMNEO-brochure-en.pdf (page 9)

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    3. The single deck vehicles do not contain 5-abreast seating (as confirmed by your brochure) and their width is therefore irrelevant to a comparison of which train (Stadler or Bombardier) is more suitable for the purpose of 5-abreast seating. 3.05 meters is neither here nor there. The brochure shows that the only vehicles with 5-abreast seating in the Omneo are double-deck sections with an exterior width of 2.99 meters. My statement that the Stadler is wider than the 5-abreast Omneo is factually correct.

      Again, with feeling: the low seating capacity of the Caltrain Stadler is purely a matter of Caltrain's interior configuration choices.

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    4. "A full second class OMNEO train with a 2+2 seating arrangement achieves an impressive ratio of 5 seats per
      meter of train with seat spacing of 825 mm between unidirectional seat rows and 1,750 mm between face to face
      rows. A 2+3 seating arrangement can increase this ratio to 5.8 seats per meter of train."

      The interior layout based on rail mounted seats makes it easy to change from a 2+2 to a 2+3 seating arrangement
      during the life of the train in order to meet increasing capacity needs.

      https://www.bombardier.com/content/dam/Websites/bombardiercom/Events/Supporting%20Documents/BT/bombardier-transportation-OMNEO-brochure-en.pdf (page 9)

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    5. That's some nice salesmanship, thank you.

      As shown above, the Stadler could easily do 5.4 seats per meter of train if you chose a different interior configuration. Nothing warrants changing vendors or changing train architecture, let alone getting the Franco-French Bombardier Crespin factory to comply with Buy America regulations. If you're upset that the Stadler EMUs have too few seats, then your issue is with interior configuration choices made by Caltrain and their consultants, choices that have little to nothing to do with the choice of train vendor.

      Caltrain could have bought a Stadler "hyperdense" but didn't. What part of this is so difficult to understand?

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    6. 1) Unless I missed it, what is your solution for "EMU cars filled with electrical cabinets (labeled with yellow lightning bolts), with reduced capacity compared to a conventional train" (copy Bombardier or???). Are you saying that this crappy interior design is Caltrain's fault???

      2) Now that your stupid sets of doors at random heights are dead (and soon to be buried), how about resetting a level playing field and issuing an RFI to companies with a proven track record of designing and manufacturing hundreds of high SEATED capacity trains?

      3) How about following BART's example and creating hundreds of good BAY AREA Buy America-compliant jobs in Pittsburg, CA (https://sf.streetsblog.org/2019/06/14/bart-train-plant-moving-to-pittsburg/) instead of pissing away hundreds of millions of OUR tax dollars on a new ASSEMBLY facility in Salt Lake City, UT?

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    7. You do realize that you can't force a company to build locally if you have to comply with Buy America, right?

      Also, why you think that Caltrain would cancel an existing contract with a vendor and reissue an RFP (when no other vendor responded to the original RFP) is beyond me. Bombardier had a beautiful opportunity to propose the OMNEO, they didn't. Same goes for Siemens. End of story as far as pretty much all parties who matter are concerned (Caltrain, Bombardier, Siemens and Stadler).

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    8. Re: 1), see 29 July 22:32. I'm too lazy to copy and paste.

      Yours is a style of "advocacy" that I just don't get: angry resentment about poor decisions made in the past. Get over it already; anger is blinding and prevents you from seeing straight, for example that the Stadler car shells are wider than the Omneo five-abreast car shells.
      Changing train vendors this late in the process will cost several hundred million and is simply not on the menu of feasible options. Advocate for things to be decided in the future, and let go of things decided in the past.

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    9. @Anonymous: What about this interior design is "crappy"? The reasons why these trains have so few seats are:
      - 2+2 seating chosen when 3+2 would have been possible as well
      - more flip-up seats could be installed
      - equipment that makes a 6MW power rating possible can't be hidden out of sight (the OMNEO has just 3.2MW in the highest-powered version)
      and: TWO ENTIRE cars have NO seats on the lower level "thanks" to all that bike space!

      It is simply impossible to design a true high-capacity EMU when all of the above is required.
      If we remove the bike space and replace it with one euro-style multipurpose area with additional flip-up seats
      (like on this train, scroll down to the pictures: https://www.rmv.de/c/de/linien-netze/fahrzeuge/regionalzuege/twindexx-vario-doppelstock-elektrotriebzuege/twindexx-vario-doppelstock-elektrotriebzug-main-neckar-ried/#group[87761]-5 ),
      add 3+2 seating and more flip-up seats at the doors, the 7-car trains easily reach 5.4 seats/m, as Clem wrote already.

      All of the electrical equipment that takes away space is needed to make the trains as quick as Caltrain wants them to be. No OMNEO will ever be able to meet the performance required in the RFP.

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    10. Correction: Since the additional 7th car will be powered, the new trains will actually have 8MW, which seems pretty crazy compared to the 3.2MW (OMNEO) and 4.6MW (Twindexx Vario) offered by Bombardier (both in their highest-powered Version). The only bilevel train with a similar power rating that I know of is the Siemens Desiro HC (4-car-train with 4MW, only 2 bilevel cars), which was designed specifically for high acceleration and high capacity (yet only 50% bilevel, all traction equipment is hidden in the single-level end cars). This just shows the great job Stadler did archieving the power ratings required without removing the upper level of the power cars like Siemens did on the Desiro HC. In this context, the few seats cannibalised by the electrical equipment on the intermediate floors of the KISS seem like a small price to pay.

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    11. @Clem: your assertion that "the Stadler car shells are wider than the Omneo five-abreast car shells" is beyond asinine:

      1) Who cares if the EXTERIOR shell size of a KISS is 0.393701 inches wider when the Omneo's ingenious window armrest design increases INTERIOR width by a whopping 7 inches?

      2) What is your next brilliant stroke of genius? Special ledges so that passengers can hang out of the windows by their toenails?

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    12. I should have known! How could I miss that the fatal flaw with our new trains was the insufficiently ingenious ARMREST DESIGN?!? Thank you for clearing that up.

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    13. Given that U.S. coaches width is 3100-3200 mm, why is the new EMU carbody narrower?

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  12. Breaking News (NOBODY ever saw that one coming!): https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/federal-monitor-warns-caltrain-electrification-project-faces-two-year-delay/

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    Replies
    1. This is more than enough to justify a dedicated HP siding for San Mateo work. Maybe even buy back their old GP9s... better to have eight 24/7 work crews and single tracking all the way from Trousdale to Hendy than two teams that have to run around everyone at noon and pack it in at midnight.

      On that point, does anyone know if the work crews on Dumbarton are UP or Caltrain? A quick look at the June construction report shows a gap of essentially no work around Junction.


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  13. Well, one reason for this debate is that the current Bombardier Bi-Level cars are extremely space efficient, so nearly anything else will look worse. Consider that Bombardier bi-level has 72 seats on upper deck vs only 52 for Stadler KISS. This is because the bi-level section is much longer and illustrates that key to efficiency is this for each car:
    * Maximize bi-level length
    * Minimize single-level length

    I don't have schematics, but I'd bet it would appear that Stadler could redesign future KISS models to be more space efficient by extending the upper deck to same length as current Bombardier cars.

    One way to REALLY maximize space is by minimizing number of trucks - aka articulation. The car length would have to shrink since spacing between trucks can't get wider without car sticking out more on turns, but for a given length of train, the % of single-deck would decrease. You'd still need need room for power equipment, but that can go above the single-deck areas of what today are non-power cars.

    I'm not a fan of 2+3 seating especially when Bombardier demonstrates plenty of capacity with 2+2.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Only the "shorty" EMU cars have 52 seats upstairs. The longer ones have 60 seats, and the H car (eighth car of the consist, not yet ordered) will probably have 132 seats, about the same seating capacity as a Bombardier bilevel.

      The KISS exists in five different profiles already, the widest of which is the Russian one with 700 seats in a six-car set with five-abreast seating. It was also discussed here back in 2013.

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  14. I do not understand why the original plan won't fly. It sounds like the FRA is getting hung up on the door vs. window nomenclature. Until the high doors are activated they essentially function as windows and therefore should be considered windows for the purposes of safety regulations. The fact that the procedure of opening these "windows" during an emergency is different from the standard "tear out the rubber gasket" technique is not relevant.

    Just design the seat backs to be slightly lower than the bottom of the emergency egress windows so exiting by climbing over the seats is no more difficult than climbing over the threshold of a compliant emergency egress window.

    Simple solution with no extra cost.

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    Replies
    1. Pretty sure this exact line of thinking went into the original waiver request. Be sure to read the original documents including the incoming waiver request and the FRA's decision letter.

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    2. Interesting. To summarize the request and response it comes down to:

      Caltrain: Can we treat the non-revenue doors as emergency escape windows?
      FRA: Doors are Doors. And doors must comply with ...

      Basically FRA ignored the spirit of Caltrain's request. It would have been nice if the FRA could at least explain their rationale to their decision other than just pointing back to the same old existing regs.

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  15. Caltrain's chosen approach is a ~$15 million mistake...

    Isn't this 100% the fault of LTK Engineering Services? They were the ones contracted to "manage" FRA regulatory issues. Presumably the JPB will now get their money refunded, right?

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    Replies
    1. Right: Just like they refunded the JPB for the $3.5M TTCI change order to have the trains tested PROPERLY.

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  16. Breaking News!!!

    "Segment [XX]: CP Lick to Gilroy

    • This segment will be upgraded to have two dedicated electrified (25kVAC 60Hz) passenger tracks and one non-electrified track.
    • The middle (of 3) track will be provided to allow double stack freight trains (cleared for ‘plate H’) to operate when the non-electrified track is not available.
    • This operation will be protected by temporal separation and will not be under the protection of a signalling system – other than only allowing one train in the segment at any one time.
    • The electrified tracks will be provided with the HSR signalling system, HSR traction power and HSR communication system.
    • The tracks will be installed and maintained to HSR standards.
    • This segment will include the Gilroy Maintenance-of-Way facility and will include connection to the local non high-speed railroad network."
    https://hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/track/Part_B-1_TS-1_Industry_Draft_Functional_and_Technical_Requirements.pdf (pp13-14)

    PS. "the HSR signalling system" = ATC.

    What could possibly go wrong???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not that dumb. This is clearly being done to facilitate future CapCor integration into HSR-approved track. Diesel Capcors would run in the center until they're ready for deep integration into the CHSRA system... either through improvements to the Alviso line or routing them over Dumbarton and down the peninsula. When that happens UP would be given a new freight-only line adjacent as compensation as track #3 has OCS installed, then CHSRA trains speed up and down the original center track without affecting Caltrain service on either side.

      The devil's in the details, namely where UP tracks have to splice in from the south. The best solution here would be to turn Gilroy's service platform into a Caltrain/CapCor island platform while CHSRA wyes in east of Coast MT2. This would make for an interesting structure above 101, due to the Paper Mill lead conflicting any connection south of the freeway.

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    2. @aarond

      I think you've got the layout wrong. The non-electrified track is not the center track, but the center track can be used for double-stack freight when necessary.

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    3. You are correct, Peter and I stand corrected. UP keeps MT-1 untouched, but CHSRA-1/2 built to the west. Tracks connect between Lewis & Martin where the Gilroy station currently connects through. In this way Gilroy doesn't have to be modified at all, short of a new second platform for NB trains that can also be used for CapCor/Starlights on UP MT-1. Capitol, Blossom, Morgan and San Martin would have to be rebuilt. Diridon #1 would not have any wires.


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    4. And the end result is 80 feet between gates @Tennant and Dunne...
      What could possibly go wrong???

      Delete
  17. Paging Clem: How about a "Blended Fail" blog post?

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    Replies
    1. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2019/08/07/caltrain-and-high-speed-rail-have-different-plans.html

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    2. I was about to post that link; that's a good article. It resembles something in my drafts folder that I will eventually finish.

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    3. Sounds good. Please consider touching on the I-ETMS/ATC "compatibility" fustercluck which should give the FRA sufficient ammo to rescind the NEPA assignment.

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  18. Clem, do you have a link for the proposed plug panel change order? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. Unfortunately not everything has a link on the public internet.

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    2. Make a CPRA request. If the change order has been executed, they will need to provide it to you.

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    3. Or you could, Peter (or anyone else). Doing what Clem is doing takes a lot of time and energy and, even though I assume you made the comment with only the best intentions, stuff like that can wear on a tireless non-professional. I was in the same place many years back and eventually being treated like staff on stuff like this will burn someone out.

      I don't assume any poor intentions on your part. I'm just trying to remind everyone that you don't want to kill the Golden Goose.

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    4. @Michael, I wasn't telling Clem to make the request. It was meant to be a reply to @anonymous. I was trying to make the same point to @anonymous that you made to me, that if he wants particular information he needs to ask the source for it.

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  19. Burlingame grade sep grant (minor)

    https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/burlingame-lands-broadway-grade-separation-grant/article_f77fb5f8-bcaa-11e9-a72d-fb453c3a978e.html

    ReplyDelete
  20. In lighter news, I've always wondered why only SF Tunnel #2 is Quad-tracked. Today, I learned the answer:
    Tunnel 2 is the only one of the five tunnels built with twin bores to accommodate four tracks, although the western bore is currently closed. The western bore was built because a high concrete retaining wall was needed to support a city street running alongside that second tunnel.
    (https://www.triposo.com/poi/T__c09569ac6a26#)

    Also, curious if there's any value in upgrading the Caltrain line to 90 mph operation after electrification if work required is minimal. From the political angle, would not going straight to 110mph end up burning up the political capitol and leave us stuck at 90 mph. I-ETMS is certified by FRA up to only 90mph, so that jump might be easy once PTC work is complete. (per info from article on IL HSR: https://www.midwesthsr.org/chicago-st-louis-line-much-improved-not-done-yet)

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    1. Also, if you go on Google Earth and look at aerials from pre-1960 (before I-280 was built), you'll see that the cut and cover tunnels had the Western Pacific's "mainline" passing above them. Looking NW from the crossing, you can see where the WP went into a tunnel under Potrero Hill. The tunnel has been closed for decades, but you can still see the trace of the line all the way up to around the 101-80 interchange.

      WP had plans once to lay its own rails all the way to SF. A map I once saw seemed to have the line following what became the Bayshore Freeway up most of the Peninsula.

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