Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby Myrtone » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:38 am

My city has a very large legacy system with both the Citadis and Combino co-existing, one of the few first generation tramways with Citadis trams, the other being Rotterdam. Before technical problems with the Combino model we have, it was thought to be a better design than the Citadis.

Will Septa keep the high floor cars for non-transit uses, such as charters and tours?
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby penncenter » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:19 pm

JeffK wrote:
silverliner266 wrote:I'm sorry to burst your bubble but this isn't going to happen. The K-cars are old and prone to break down, too small, and most importantly not ADA compliant. They would need a full rebuild similar to the PCCs on the 15 and that doesn't solve issue #2.

Well put. The K's date back to 1980-82 which will make them ~40 years old when the new artics arrive. Even if SEPTA did want to keep some running they'd face problems finding replacement parts. They already went down that path with the non-rebuilt PCCs and Red Arrow cars, where some parts had to be custom-fabricated and others cannibalized because there were no off-the-shelf suppliers.

Heck, I loved the P&W Bullets and suburban 70-series cars too and was sad to see them go, but they were effectively rolling museum pieces* . There was no practical way to keep them in revenue service.

* (not my description, fwiw)



Agreed. I was a student at Penn when the Kawasakis were put into service, and rode the line often. Loved the old cars, and when a new car would hurtle down the tunnel, it was was like "uggh." But they were nicer and more comfortable, and they grew on everyone. They were freakish at first, but became preferable, and then thats all there were. Now you look at them as old standbys, and look at the new cars as odd. Progress. It happens. The new cars will be better and they will grow on everyone.

That subway surface service is really nice, and it sounds like SRO at rush hour. SEPTA needs to increase capacity as much as it realistically can, and these new cars will do that. Makes a better ride for everyone at a cost per seat thats less for SEPTA. Win-win.

Phila is the only old line, big city that actually has population growth since the 2010 census. This is good for public transportation usage. Increased ridership will only make the entire system better. Good things happening in Phila...
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby Myrtone » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:10 am

penncenter wrote:I was a student at Penn when the Kawasakis were put into service, and rode the line often. Loved the old cars, and when a new car would hurtle down the tunnel, it was was like "uggh." But they were nicer and more comfortable, and they grew on everyone. They were freakish at first, but became preferable, and then thats all there were. Now you look at them as old standbys, and look at the new cars as odd. Progress. It happens. The new cars will be better and they will grow on everyone.

The K-cars are high floor with control equipment under the floor, what else do they have in common with everything before them, such as P.C.Cs? Since the new ones will be low floor, differences between them and all previous generations of rolling stock will be more intrusive to detailed design that the differences between all previous generations, especially if they are 100% low floor or even nearly so. For example, roof-mounted control equimpent and axleless bogies with motors outside the powered wheels. If you think about it, none of this is traditional, but this is also not something that a non-heritage rail transit operator would take into account.
Most low floor vehicles appear to have bucket seating which is less comfortable than the bench seating common on older vehicles with high floor, but the main reason nearly all 100% low floor models are less comfortable is because the bogies are fixed and these don't ride as well. However, they don't have steps anywhere in the floor area, and this is more important to the general public than technological aspects such as ride quality.

Are the K-cars unique to Southeast Pennsylvania? I haven't been able to find anything else like them. Will their replacements be any closer to industry standard?
Toronto's last high floor streetcar generation, the C.L.R.V and A.L.R.V are also thouroughly custom design. There's nothing else quite like them in the world. While their low floor ones, the Flexity Outlooks, are still customised quite intrusively to detailed design, there are others like it in Europe, such as in Nottingham and Nantes, the latter in France.

penncenter wrote:That subway surface service is really nice, and it sounds like SRO at rush hour. SEPTA needs to increase capacity as much as it realistically can, and these new cars will do that. Makes a better ride for everyone at a cost per seat thats less for SEPTA. Win-win.

Another way to get a futher increase in capacity is to reduce the number of seats and increase the standing density, more passengers per square metre. Stop consolitation may mean this will be acceptable over a greater distance than over which it is currently acceptable.

penncenter wrote:Phila is the only old line, big city that actually has population growth since the 2010 census. This is good for public transportation usage. Increased ridership will only make the entire system better. Good things happening in Phila...

That's why I am wondering if they could borrow some money, stretch their budget and then use the extra revenue to pay back the loan.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:02 pm

[quote="Myrtone"]Are the K-cars unique to Southeast Pennsylvania?
I'm sure they are.

Another way to get a futher increase in capacity is to reduce the number of seats and increase the standing density, more passengers per square metre. Stop consolitation may mean this will be acceptable over a greater distance than over which it is currently acceptable./quote]

Most passengers ride far enough that there would be an uproar at any reduction in seating. For standing passengers, start-and-stop street running, which is all there is once the cars leave the tunnel, is very trying over those distances.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby Myrtone » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:28 pm

But stop consolidation would mean less frequent stopping and therefore shorter journey times. My city has the largest tramway network (that's what we call it) in the world and all our low floor rolling stock has fewer seats per square metre and less comfortable seats than our high floor ones. But this hasn't lead to a public outcry, our transit users can live with it just fine.
Obsession with onboard furniture is another thing that Yarra Trams has not considered. We had some resistance when our articulated high floor light rail vehicles when seating was reduced on a few of them. Later, all the rest got refits that reduced seating without too many complaints. Any street transit vehicle only has a limited amount of floor space and low floor light rail vehicles, especially if they are 100% low floor, have less of it relative to vehicle length and vehicle width. So there has to be a reduction in seating if capacity relative to length is not to be reduced.
Neither the Yarra Trams system, the Toronto streetcar system, nor the subway-surface system is a museum or long-haul service. They don't keep things around because they're traditional. By the way, to add it what I said about industry standard, they don't keep things around or order a particular new model simply because it's unique and special.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:38 pm

From what I recall at the time, there are clearance restrictions at various places in the tunnel that precluded operation of anything then available off the shelf, necessitating a location-specific design. And street operation in mixed traffic can require stopping for traffic conditions. Certainly the dwell time is eliminated along with a stop, but stops in between station stops are frequently necessary. We're talking some very narrow streets here, and undisciplined motorists.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby bikentransit » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Are headways going to be reduced since the fleet size is shrinking?
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby Myrtone » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:52 pm

ExCon90 wrote:From what I recall at the time, there are clearance restrictions at various places in the tunnel that precluded operation of anything then available off the shelf, necessitating a location-specific design. And street operation in mixed traffic can require stopping for traffic conditions. Certainly the dwell time is eliminated along with a stop, but stops in between station stops are frequently necessary. We're talking some very narrow streets here, and undisciplined motorists.

Well, how about removing street parking and getting cars off the street railway tracks? And those clearence restrictions didn't preclude the use of P.C.Cs similar to what was common elsewhere in North America.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby ExCon90 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:37 pm

bikentransit wrote:Are headways going to be reduced since the fleet size is shrinking?
Forget restricting street parking--Philadelphia can't even prevent parking in the painted median of South Broad Street (a mayor tried it once and got nowhere). The streets we're talking about only have room for two tracks plus a parking lane on each side--automobiles and streetcars have to share the track area. And the last PCC was built in 1952; SEPTA was looking for something newer, and by then everything available was an LRV.
Last edited by ExCon90 on Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby ExCon90 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:40 pm

bikentransit wrote:Are headways going to be reduced since the fleet size is shrinking?

Probably have to be lengthened, with fewer cars available; however greater capacity may compensate. Given the current congestion in the tunnel, a smaller number of cars may actually be able to operate faster, especially in the peaks.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby ebtmikado » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:22 pm

The Flexibles aren't bad looking.
You want to see fugly? Look at the new MBTA Type 9!

Lee
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:41 pm

Figure on the FTA to start "browbeating" SEPTA on the ADA issues,and replace the cars,buy now there're parts for the K cars that have been
discontinued,outdated,or cost too much to make.
That should start SEPTA on looking for replacements NOW,before the FTA threatens to hold back funding due to the ADA issues
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby Myrtone » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:15 am

ExCon90 wrote:Forget restricting street parking--Philadelphia can't even prevent parking in the painted median of South Broad Street (a mayor tried it once and got nowhere). The streets we're talking about only have room for two tracks plus a parking lane on each side--automobiles and streetcars have to share the track area. The last PCC was built in 1952; SEPTA was looking for something newer, and by then everything available was an LRV.

But if non-car transport, such as cycling or going by trolley, is made more attractive, then maybe there will be less demand for parking and so a loss of parking might become acceptable. Stop consolidation and trolley priority would mean shorter journey times and so a reduction in seating without an uproar, this reduction meaning more passengers per square meter and a further increase in capacity.

Also, P.C.C type rolling stock was built in Europe later than the early 1950s. In fact, Tatra made the P.C.C derived T3 in Czechoslovakia as late as 1989. In Germany, both Duewag and Wegmann built new rolling stock for legacy systems in Western Europe. I believe there were a few other streetcar builders also in Western Europe.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:56 pm

Eliminating curbside parking on the arterial streets used by the subway-surface lines is a non-starter; autos and streetcars will continue to have to share the common track area, making trolley priority impossible. Trolleys are often halted by autos maneuvering in and out of the curbside parking spaces.
PCCs or any other vehicles produced outside the U. S. would have been unavailable to SEPTA if Federal funds were involved, as I think they were.
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Re: Septa, please keep the K-cars in service!

Postby Myrtone » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:11 am

Private manually steered vehicles should not be permitted to delay streetcars. By the way, streetcar priority does exist in many European cities, even (I believe) on streets quite narrow.
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