Bi-Level, single-level mixes

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Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby 4400Washboard » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:46 pm

Does the MBTA actively mix bi-levels and single-levels on a regular basis? Why?

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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby TrainManTy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:57 pm

All the time. There's really no reason not to. Trains are made up of whatever equipment is available, and everything works together.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby Patrick Boylan » Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:30 pm

TrainManTy, since you're from Woosta, and in my neighborhood we have a town pronounced Wor Ches Ter, I guess you don't need me to confirm that when I rode MBTA commuter to and from Nadick May 2003 my train had mixed multi-level and single level coaches.
I also remember summer 1991 Amtrak San Diego-Los Angeles my otherwise Amfleet train had at least one Chicago style gallery car.

more important questions to me are

What other agencies mix the equipment as needed, and if not, why not?
Why do folks still call multi-levels "bi-level"?

I apologize if you think I'm saying something provocative, and would appreciate it if I have done so please let me know what it is.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby 8th Notch » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:54 pm

TrainManTy wrote:All the time. There's really no reason not to. Trains are made up of whatever equipment is available, and everything works together.


*excluding the Rotems, they don't always like to play nice :wink: . Funny about what term we actually give to the K cars/Rotems, a lot of people myself included still call them double deckers. Most of us railroaders around here (MBCR) use double or flat when referencing the two.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby TrainManTy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:46 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:What other agencies mix the equipment as needed, and if not, why not?


New Jersey Transit's multilevels cannot run with cars of other types. A few friends of mine from NJ have been surprised by our mixed trains because of this.

8th Notch wrote:
TrainManTy wrote:Trains are made up of whatever equipment is available, and everything works together.


*excluding the Rotems, they don't always like to play nice :wink:


Noted. But they're supposed to, in theory.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby ns3010 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:12 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:What other agencies mix the equipment as needed, and if not, why not?


MARC does as well with their Kawasaki bilevels and Nippon Sharyo singles. And UTA does too with their BBD bilevels and Comet I's. NJT doesn't, because as Tyler said, The ML's and the Comet's don't work together (although they were originally supposed to). Any railroad that runs Gallery cars keeps those separate from other cars because they're completely different.


Patrick Boylan wrote:Why do folks still call multi-levels "bi-level"?


Because Multilevels and Bilevel cars are not the same. Bombardier made their standard low-level bi-level (used on just about every railroad with low-level boarding), but introduced the Multilevel when NJT decided that it was time to go up. The name Multilevel was created by BBD simply to differentiate the new car type from the ones already in use. The high/low level Kawasaki bi-levels used by the T and MARC are more similar to Multilevels than they are to BBD bi-levels, but are still called bi-levels by their owners and Kawasaki.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby 4400Washboard » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:02 pm

Cool, thanks. I assume that these were on purposely built to operate in this fashion? Why don't other RRs do this? If you smash a NJT MultiLevel with a single Comet Cab (Or perhaps a Comet trailer between a Multi and a Cab), you could have a substantial Atlantic City Line set.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:07 am

From what I understand,
MBTA uses manual doors,the single level cars do not have the train line controls for the doors.
The Rotems are the 1st to have working trainline door controls(pending factory fixes :wink: )
the "K" cars are wired for trainline door controls,but need to be rigged for it.(door motors and control panels)
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby sery2831 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:33 am

No. There are single level cars with electric doors in use, as well as some K cars. These cars are found on the Old Colony Lines. On the north side, only the Rotem cars have electric doors active. Just a side note, ALL the cars have power doors set ups(motors and control heads), just certain ones are active.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby 4400Washboard » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:03 am

I prefer manual-op. over any other option since you get more "railroad" out of it (Think about it: Which would you prefer-A closed window or an open door?)
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby tvachon » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:13 am

Surprised no one else said this, but not all of the multilevel cars have bathrooms. If they are control cars they won't, and I have see a string of them all as control cars (more so during the control car crisis of to Brokems). If that is the case, you need an MBB in place to provide that, but the 1800/1900 cars have less distinguishing features to indicate this from a photo (like a horn set on the roof)
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby Patrick Boylan » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:26 am

ns3010 wrote:
Patrick Boylan wrote:What other agencies mix the equipment as needed, and if not, why not?

Any railroad that runs Gallery cars keeps those separate from other cars because they're completely different.

That doesn't agree with my 1991 experience
Patrick Boylan wrote:I also remember summer 1991 Amtrak San Diego-Los Angeles my otherwise Amfleet train had at least one Chicago style gallery car.

I don't think Gallery cars are completely different from other cars, could you please explain what the differences are that make you think railroads need to keep them separate?

Patrick Boylan wrote:Why do folks still call multi-levels "bi-level"?

Because Multilevels and Bilevel cars are not the same. Bombardier made their standard low-level bi-level (used on just about every railroad with low-level boarding), but introduced the Multilevel when NJT decided that it was time to go up. The name Multilevel was created by BBD simply to differentiate the new car type from the ones already in use. The high/low level Kawasaki bi-levels used by the T and MARC are more similar to Multilevels than they are to BBD bi-levels, but are still called bi-levels by their owners and Kawasaki.[/quote]
I'm pretty sure Hawker-Siddely made them first for Toronto in the early 1980's, although I freely admit it's difficult to know the manufacturers anymore, and perhaps Bobardier bought Hawker Siddely. Despite anyone calling them bi-level, if they have a lower, middle and upper level I count it as 3 levels, and my Latin teachers taught me that bi means 2, not 3.

I'm not trying to be provocative, but please let me know if you think I am and I'll try not to do it again.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:45 am

Patrick Boylan wrote:
Patrick Boylan wrote:
ns3010 wrote:
Patrick Boylan wrote:What other agencies mix the equipment as needed, and if not, why not?

Any railroad that runs Gallery cars keeps those separate from other cars because they're completely different.

That doesn't agree with my 1991 experience
Patrick Boylan wrote:I also remember summer 1991 Amtrak San Diego-Los Angeles my otherwise Amfleet train had at least one Chicago style gallery car.

I don't think Gallery cars are completely different from other cars, could you please explain what the differences are that make you think railroads need to keep them separate?

Patrick Boylan wrote:Why do folks still call multi-levels "bi-level"?

Because Multilevels and Bilevel cars are not the same. Bombardier made their standard low-level bi-level (used on just about every railroad with low-level boarding), but introduced the Multilevel when NJT decided that it was time to go up. The name Multilevel was created by BBD simply to differentiate the new car type from the ones already in use. The high/low level Kawasaki bi-levels used by the T and MARC are more similar to Multilevels than they are to BBD bi-levels, but are still called bi-levels by their owners and Kawasaki.

I'm pretty sure Hawker-Siddely made them first for Toronto in the early 1980's, although I freely admit it's difficult to know the manufacturers anymore, and perhaps Bobardier bought Hawker Siddely. Despite anyone calling them bi-level, if they have a lower, middle and upper level I count it as 3 levels, and my Latin teachers taught me that bi means 2, not 3.

I'm not trying to be provocative, but please let me know if you think I am and I'll try not to do it again.


It was originally a Hawker product, but the brand name is officially called the "BiLevel Coach". What's called what is a little arbitrary...especially since the Bombardier MLV is such a relatively new product. But for the most part it gets delineated in common usage by the tape-measure dimensions of the tincan, not its door configuration. Because the only reason the "MLV" product exists is so there's a mass-market form factor for getting inside Penn, GCT, Philly, and Montreal Mt. Royal Tunnel clearances above/below wire or 3rd rail height on a common, un-customized spec. While MARC is sucking up the tail end of NJT's option orders out of pure convenience, the "MLV" height is only going to be a fresh procurement for 5 buyers only now and forever: NJT, Metro North/CDOT, LIRR, SEPTA, and AMT. 5 buyers who happen to collectively constitute half-or-better of the total North American railcar market...especially when you consider the likelihood of future EMU purchases on those carriers being built to that same dimension spec. Everybody else on the continent is buying cars that match the "BiLevel"'s dimensions. Including the T with its level boarding, and including MARC if they make another wholly in-house order instead of glomming off NJT. Possibly other agencies too if they start incorporating level boarding (e.g., maybe Metrolink for CAHSR platform compatibility on push-pull routes that partially overlap). Bombardier has long offered versions of the BLV in non-low door configurations. It's just with the T and MARC going with Kawasaki/Rotem or parasitic on somebody height-restricted's MLV order they've never had the opportunity to manufacture one because everyone else buys low-door. It's not exactly magic what Kawasaki did to net that shipping product. The "newness" of the MLV brand was fitting it all in the clearance restrictions, not the door/floor configuration.


But the numbers just happen to break down neatly that way...a total market whose revenue pot ends up split nearly evenly between a hyper-concentration of height-restricted cars amongst small number of agencies, and the other 50% or whatever of many, many unrestrictred agencies. Especially when you factor in bi-level EMU's likely to be built in the future in either form factor, since NJT and MNRR are actively considering that. It's quite likely "BLV" vs. "MLV" designations are going to continue to break along those lines height-wise. And likewise the "HiLiner"moniker that groups the Amtrak Superliner and Metra Gallery Car remainder of the market that are a few inches taller than the BLV's (but functionally can/do run all the same places). Throw in the Metra/NITCD Gallery EMU's and that form factor too has differing high-level and low-level door configurations going by same name.

If lessons learned from the Rotem debacle begets a winning Bombardier bid from the T's next order of bi's, we're not going to be ordering one-size-fits-all MLV's designed to fit in Penn Station. Even if the T loves that design, it'll get served to them in the BLV dimensions just like the K cars. And probably get called a BLV or something else not-"MLV" brand even if it is the same exact design in a slightly roomier tincan. Marketing: it's just easier to separate the product lineup and vernacular into roughly even-sized binary market segments. Whereas if they named 'em by high-vs.-low platform the extreme skew to the level-boarding northeast RR's ends up dwarfing the rest of the railcar market. And renders the HiLevel/Gallery form factor almost unclassifiable.


In the end it's all semantics and in the end RR.net posters know what other posters are getting at for the most part with the mixed terminology, but that's the sort of logic the vernacular has coalesced around.
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby nomis » Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:31 am

Multi - multi level ...
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Re: Bi-Level, single-level mixes

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:03 am

Looks like they forgot to raise the bridge clearances. :P
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