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 Post subject: Re: Bi-Level Commmuter Cars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:52 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 106
In Chicago, upstairs on Metra trains is actually a very popular place for families out for a day, but they ride enough to know the cars. The area has a double seat at the end, then about 10 seats facing inwards along the windows before there are the 6 or so individual flip seats at the stairs. The family can grab the back seats and have an adult at each end - at the gallery and aisle - and have the kids trapped in between. There is also more leg room that way than flipping two full seats to face each other.

The key is - do the riders know the cars.


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 Post subject: Re: Bi-Level Commmuter Cars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:44 pm
Posts: 94
Bartman-TN wrote:
In Chicago, upstairs on Metra trains is actually a very popular place for families out for a day, but they ride enough to know the cars. The area has a double seat at the end, then about 10 seats facing inwards along the windows before there are the 6 or so individual flip seats at the stairs. The family can grab the back seats and have an adult at each end - at the gallery and aisle - and have the kids trapped in between. There is also more leg room that way than flipping two full seats to face each other.

The key is - do the riders know the cars.


In my personal opinion...

Knowing that the majority of people who step on board probably have fewer train trips under their belts than fingers on one hand, why wouldn't an organization do everything in their power to ensure their ride is the best possible experience? Knowing that Metra bilevels have a portion of the upper level that can function as a kid corral is something that comes from riding the cars frequently. On the flip side, if you ride them frequently enough to know the trick, how likely are you to pick the same seat if you've traveled to a scenic railroad and likely paid more money than the Metra fair for a longer, slower ride? Just because we know better doesn't mean we should be willing to let the general public make their own discoveries the hard way.

I work at an operation that has several bilevels that find their way into regular trains with frustrating frequency, and from personal experience, I can say this:

-Many people ask when boarding how to reach the upper level. Very few people remain up there by the end of the trip. Whether that's due to lack of outward facing upper seats to view the scenery on your scenic railroad, lack of isle space for maneuvering, or inability of the AC system to fully cool a car with modified windows (they are clear instead of green tinted) is up for debate.

-There are at least 12 seats in each car without a window on each lower end, 4 of which are directly across from the tiny little bathroom that barely holds one person, let alone a parent trying to help a small child.

-On ours and most other bilevels that I've seen, the seat mechanism is fully exposed, meaning that every time a patron flips over a seat, it creates an almost scissor like device and an opportunity for amputation of little fingers, hands and legs. Don't ask how I know. I'm sure Metra has the insurance to cover injury resulting from any accidental encounters, does your organization?

-Much of the general public appears to be immune to narration and suggestion from conductors that they are not required to sit in the first open seat they encounter when open seating is offered. If both conventional seating and bilevel seating are offered in such a scenario, the moment of discovery results in a move to the conventional car about 75% of the time in my experience. Should the conventional coach seats be full, you now have paying passengers trapped in a sub-optimal seat. Expect complaints and bad reviews on Yelp or Trip Advisor.

I could go on but the gist is the same.

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Nick Turinetti
Operations Manager
North Shore Scenic Railroad


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 Post subject: Re: Bi-Level Commmuter Cars
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:40 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8356
Location: Baltimore, MD
On the off chance that anyone's actually interested:

http://www.ironplanet.com/for-sale/Rail ... nia/705058

http://www.ironplanet.com/for-sale/Rail ... nia/705057

Two of the ex-VRE, ex-C&NW cars at Fort Lee. Starting bid $3,000 each.


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 Post subject: Re: Bi-Level Commmuter Cars
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:12 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:40 pm
Posts: 120
Location: Downers Grove, IL
With all the operational negatives posted here, I wonder if anyone would work on restoring any of these commuter classics (I ride them all the time into Chicago for those special downtown events). See us at the Pullman Library for Budd and Pullman, not St Louis cars for which we do not have the drawings. This posting is for a recent development as we now have in house the more recent Pullman specs and drawings, some Pullman photos to the end of production and the Budd drawings. All material is supplied under Bombardier license, who still hold title. Please note that we have reduced the drawing prices, hence we request a serious inquiry as the proceeds keep the library going for this self sustaining operation to answer requests and improve the collections.
I have ridden the IRM bi-level cars and as long as the A/C works, it is always a pleasant ride. We have supplied drawings for the Pullman bi-level at IRM.
Ted Anderson, Pullman Library volunteer

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Ted Anderson, curator
Pullman Library
Illinois Railway Museum
P. O. Box 427
Union, IL 60180


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 Post subject: Re: Bi-Level Commmuter Cars
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:07 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 46
I fully realize railroad museums sometimes need to take what they can get car wise to meet capacity. But I've always thought it was odd to see bi-level commuter cars mixed with single level coaches on a museum train. What is the museum train supposed to be?

Either a tourist railroad, or a railroad museum should know what the train is supposed to be.

At IRM, you never see the bi-level commuter cars behind #1630. They are creating period trains that represent something. That is how it should be.

I think museums are quick to make excuses... and many times we just accept them. Strasburg could save alot of money if they bought some old commuter coaches for Thomas days. And there would probably be members on this board who would applaud that decision and say "Those kids wont know the difference and now Strasburg can devote more time to more steam locomotives!" - Thankfully... Strasburg provides a quality period specific train to all riders. "But Strasburg has the money to do that" Why do they? Maybe it's because they provide a quality period specific train to all riders.

Just my thoughts... there is nothing wrong about having commuter cars in a collection. I've gone out of my way to ride the bi-levels at Illinois Railway Museum because they are... to repeat my phrase, a "quality, period specific train." But IRM has a reason for having that train, they didn't restore bi-levels just to have the capacity for an event, they restored the bi-levels because they fit the mission of the museum.


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 Post subject: Re: Bi-Level Commmuter Cars
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:27 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8356
Location: Baltimore, MD
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
Just my thoughts... there is nothing wrong about having commuter cars in a collection.


There had better not be, or we'd be forced to get rid of literally hundreds of Lackawanna Boonton coaches, Lackawanna MU and trailer cars, SP Harriman coaches, and now de-engined Budd RDCs and even former MARC PRR stainless steel cars now being used as passenger stock on lots of excursion and museum operations.

Heck, I would say that even the Boston & Maine wooden cars that make up a large portion of the Strasburg's vintage car fleet came from commuter service!

Or do you only object to bilevel cars that are young enough for you to have ridden in commuter service in select markets?

Incidentally, the Boone & Scenic Valley in Iowa now rosters six ex-Metra electric "Highliner" bilevels and a couple of C&NW bilevels in addition to both Lackawanna and Rock Island commuter coaches.......

And as much as I will concede that it was a "one brief shining moment" anomaly, there WERE instances on the C&NW, SP, and CB&Q of revenue service steam pulling bilevels in commuter service.
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 Post subject: Re: Bi-Level Commmuter Cars
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 46
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Heck, I would say that even the Boston & Maine wooden cars that make up a large portion of the Strasburg's vintage car fleet came from commuter service!

Or do you only object to bilevel cars that are young enough for you to have ridden in commuter service in select markets?


I don't object to the bi-levels if they fit the mission of a museum. Same as any other commuter car.

I was a bit careless with my use of "commuter car" - I should have said out place commuter car. In my mind I was thinking of retired Clocker Cars at Strasburg.


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