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 Post subject: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:02 am
Posts: 620
Location: Albany, Georgia
Has anyone here had any experience with trying to convert the commuter 3 seat group to 2 seats by removing the 3rd (aisle) seat? Is this even possible, or would it be more practical to find new seating? Is new seating available? I know when the SAM Shortline was converting two of their ex-MARC cars to commissary and table cars they took out all the old seats but the frames were scrapped after a year or so and the cushions had been tossed in the trash. What options are there?

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:19 am
Posts: 559
Location: Scottsboro, AL
Western Maryland Scenic has two coaches that are very nice conversions from LI 3-2 seat cars. They are now equipped with 2-2 walkover seats that I understand were obtained second hand some years ago. Other modifications include larger windows and dutch doors in the vestibules. At first glance it is hard to tell they are former LI commuter cars.

Alan Maples


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2525
Stephen, I'm not familiar with the seats at all, so this is simply an idea/suggestion.

I'm wondering if it may actually be easier to get rid of the seat next to the wall. If they're mounted on a frame that bolts into the wall and the aisle seat has legs to support it, you may find you can modify the wall end easier. i.e take one seat off that end, slide the two remaing seats over and fasten that to the wall rather than trying to move the leg assemblies? Then again, I may be totally off base here.

I guess you'll need to have a look at the components to be sure.


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:05 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5291
Stephen S. Syfrett wrote:
Has anyone here had any experience with trying to convert the commuter 3 seat group to 2 seats by removing the 3rd (aisle) seat? Is this even possible, or would it be more practical to find new seating? Is new seating available? I know when the SAM Shortline was converting two of their ex-MARC cars to commissary and table cars they took out all the old seats but the frames were scrapped after a year or so and the cushions had been tossed in the trash. What options are there?


Stephen -

We have a Long Island coach (#2937) at Hoosier Valley and it too has 3-2 seating. When I first saw it, I didn't like it. Narrow aisles, and those "extra" aisle seat didn't look right and really looked uncomfortable. But now that the car has been restored and actually put into service, the 3-2 seating works pretty well. A lot of couples with one child, find those 3 seats rather convenient. And the narrow aisles are really not a problem for the conductor collecting tickets at the lower speeds that a museum train runs. Plus, this is the way the car was configured when in service on the LIRR, so is historically correct. I can understand why some folks prefer regular double seats on both sides of the aisle, but maybe 3-2 seating isn't really that bad.

Any other folks out there have 3-2 seating in their cars? What's their opinion of that arrangement?

Les


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:28 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
Posts: 227
Well.... we never liked that arrangement on the 2900's we had. It would be easiest, probably, to get walk overs.......or, perhaps, build some simple frames to make fixed seats...kind of booth style, just no table?
I don't think the existing seats are "original"...perhaps from a '70's rebuild? Our cars looked like they had originally had larger windows as well.......I remember seeing an old picture sometime back of one with walk overs in it, I'd think those were the original seats?.....


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:36 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:02 am
Posts: 620
Location: Albany, Georgia
Thanks for your responses and I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

The attached photo demonstrates what prompted the question, and Bob, I think it might answer your question about removing the outboard (window) seat rather then the inboard, 3rd (aisle) seat.

http://www.trains-trams-trolleys.com/home/4089_2.htm

Les, on the Hoosier Valley car, is there a frame support at or near the end of the 2nd seat, or is the frame unsupported for the full length from the wall to the end of the 3rd seat? There are obvious arm rests at the end of the 3-seat group, and it would seem that the 2-seat set and the 3-seat set would have the same support structure except for the addition of a frame extension and arm rest for the 3-seat grooup.

There have been quite a few of these cars come on the market over the past several years, and a lot seem to languish without being sold, and many have probably been scrapped. I'm sure we could discuss the good and bad of these cars ad nauseam, but if conversion of the seating is such a difficult thing to do, I wonder if the 2-3 seating might be a reason the cars don't sell?

As with the SAM Shortline seats that were scrapped, I'm sure complete car sets of seating have been removed during car conversions, but they are not usually advertised. Even if they were, the timing would probably be off as far as anyone having the need at the same time as availability. So, what other options are there? I know Strasburg RR has made reproduction walkover back seating for some of their cars; are there other options?

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5291
Stephen S. Syfrett wrote:
Thanks for your responses and I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

The attached photo demonstrates what prompted the question, and Bob, I think it might answer your question about removing the outboard (window) seat rather then the inboard, 3rd (aisle) seat.

http://www.trains-trams-trolleys.com/home/4089_2.htm

Les, on the Hoosier Valley car, is there a frame support at or near the end of the 2nd seat, or is the frame unsupported for the full length from the wall to the end of the 3rd seat? There are obvious arm rests at the end of the 3-seat group, and it would seem that the 2-seat set and the 3-seat set would have the same support structure except for the addition of a frame extension and arm rest for the 3-seat grooup.

STEPHEN - I'll see if can check the car when I am at the museum on Saturday.

Les

There have been quite a few of these cars come on the market over the past several years, and a lot seem to languish without being sold, and many have probably been scrapped. I'm sure we could discuss the good and bad of these cars ad nauseam, but if conversion of the seating is such a difficult thing to do, I wonder if the 2-3 seating might be a reason the cars don't sell?

As with the SAM Shortline seats that were scrapped, I'm sure complete car sets of seating have been removed during car conversions, but they are not usually advertised. Even if they were, the timing would probably be off as far as anyone having the need at the same time as availability. So, what other options are there? I know Strasburg RR has made reproduction walkover back seating for some of their cars; are there other options?


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5476
Location: southeastern USA
It's been a while since I was on board, but I recall Stone Mountain doing some sort of conversion on their LIRR consist. Bob Abney is still there, and can probably share their approach with you. I surveyed a few of these a long time ago, and I think the judicious use of a sawzall can make the 3 side narrower.........

Jack Siffert has some of these cars and posts here, perhaps a PM to him could help as well.

Gobble.

dave

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2523
Location: S.F. Bay Area
The whole seating system was designed around the 3/2 seating configuration. If you hack off the 3rd seat, you wind up with insanely wide aisles and undersized remaining seats.

Seems to me you'd need to replace ALL the seats for the coach to make any sense at all.

How were the cars built originally?


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8822
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
robertmacdowell wrote:
The whole seating system was designed around the 3/2 seating configuration. If you hack off the 3rd seat, you wind up with insanely wide aisles and undersized remaining seats.


Don't you mean "center aisles conveniently wide enough for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walkers, and baby strollers"?

My thoughts are along the lines of how often you need all that seating to begin with. For every excursion I've seen with capacity crowds (Thomas events, Easter Bunny Expresses, etc.), you have other trips where the passengers could be handled with one per "double seat" on each side of the aisle.

If your Sawzall and grinder work is effective, you may end up with a car that just happens to be ideally suited for conversion to your handicapped-accessible car. Rip out a few seats and install wheelchair clamps, or create a couple double-wide seat spaces and maybe facing quartets, etc. Maybe a retention-tank restroom for the passengers that can't "hold it" long enough?

If you run with historic equipment, a car like this could be your "ticket" to offering extended accommodations without having to convert a rarer or more historic car. Yeah, they look awful compared to even an Amfleet car, but a "box on wheels" of this nature can still fit in with a LOT of operations I've seen.


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2523
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
robertmacdowell wrote:
The whole seating system was designed around the 3/2 seating configuration. If you hack off the 3rd seat, you wind up with insanely wide aisles and undersized remaining seats.


Don't you mean "center aisles conveniently wide enough for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walkers, and baby strollers"?

No. I mean much wider than that. Unnaturally wide.
Quote:
My thoughts are along the lines of how often you need all that seating to begin with. For every excursion I've seen with capacity crowds (Thomas events, Easter Bunny Expresses, etc.), you have other trips where the passengers could be handled with one per "double seat" on each side of the aisle.

Well unless this is your primary coach, I presume it's a "throw-in" for major events. If so, you want all the seats you can get.

Quote:
If your Sawzall and grinder work is effective, you may end up with a car that just happens to be ideally suited for conversion to your handicapped-accessible car. Rip out a few seats and install wheelchair clamps

That would be unprecedented in rail. BART doesn't use em, Amtrak doesn't use em, Muni doesn't use em on rail, CalTrain doesn't use em, and those are the ones I ride often enough to attest to personally. They are commonly used on buses, however buses have massively higher acceleration (delta-V) and jerk (delta-a) than railcars. The purpose of the clamps is to contend with acceleration and jerk, not with a 1 in a million possibility of a serious accident. If your FRA/ADA man says otherwise, promptly escort him off the property and have them send someone who knows something.


Quote:
If you run with historic equipment, a car like this could be your "ticket" to offering extended accommodations without having to convert a rarer or more historic car. Yeah, they look awful compared to even an Amfleet car, but a "box on wheels" of this nature can still fit in with a LOT of operations I've seen.

Under ADA, you must always do what is readily achievable to accomodate the handicapped. There are two exceptions relevant to this rule.
#1. Historic coaches are exempt from forced modification, you can never be forced to modify a historic coach, no matter how readily achievable it might be to do that. That is to protect historic fabric.

#2. If you are a government agency or have certain relationships with government, you must do WHATEVER is required to accommodate the handicapped, fullstop bar none, no excuses. If that applies to you, you are still not forced to modify historic coaches but might be compelled to then get new(er) ADA accessible stock. But this is only a problem for a small minority of operators, the only ones that come to mind might be Cal State RR Mus. or Cuyahoga Valley.


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:58 am
Posts: 377
Location: Reston, VA
Robert:

Forgive Sandy Mitchell, he is from Baltimore, one of the few places that use wheelchair clamps on light rail equipment. They are not required on any rail equipment by ADA regulations, only on buses.

Also, unless you expect 40 or so people in wheelchairs to show up at once, there is no need to have an entire car wheelchair accessible.

My suggestion in this case would be to look for a car with 2-2 commuter seats that is being scrapped and acquire the seats. Perhaps someone would know if any Chicago META cars (2-2 seats on the lower level) are available.


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:45 pm
Posts: 129
Or perhaps find a 3-2 seating car that is being scraped and take half the seats?

There seem to be advantages to the 3-2 seating, lets not forget that at the end of the day the interior of the car would be historically accurate at the very least.


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2523
Location: S.F. Bay Area
artschwartz wrote:
Also, unless you expect 40 or so people in wheelchairs to show up at once

Why not??? That crowd tends to be gregarious, out of sheer necessity: a retinue of able-bodied really helps with the barriers. But Internet social networking is allowing "birds of a feather to come together" to a greater degree than ever before. And you have affluent senior citizen groups all over the place. Don't be ill-equipped if they turn up in twos and threes, in fact market to them if you can. Because they are gregarious and bring lots of fare-paying friends.

Quote:
My suggestion in this case would be to look for a car with 2-2 commuter seats that is being scrapped and acquire the seats. Perhaps someone would know if any Chicago META cars (2-2 seats on the lower level) are available.

That would work, sure. A steady stream of 2-2 equipment being scrapped.

Generally speaking, coaches are really neglected by preservation. But it is seats which pay the bills.


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR commuter coach 3-2 seating conversion?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:29 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8822
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
robertmacdowell wrote:
Quote:
My thoughts are along the lines of how often you need all that seating to begin with. For every excursion I've seen with capacity crowds (Thomas events, Easter Bunny Expresses, etc.), you have other trips where the passengers could be handled with one per "double seat" on each side of the aisle.

Well unless this is your primary coach, I presume it's a "throw-in" for major events. If so, you want all the seats you can get.


I have seen two excursion/museum operations borrow/acquire/lease ex-C&NW bilevels specifically for extra seating capacity for the "big" events--Thomas, Santa, whatever. In fact, one car arrived back from said assignment with Christmas decor still inside of it.

Also, presume the following: Unless you're a railroad museum in Long Island or New York State, you are NOT acquiring a LIRR car for "historic" purposes. You're acquiring it for utilitarian purposes, just like the Strasburg did with the cars it later converted into a diner and a parlor car, or the Verde Canyon RR did with the cars it "tunneled" to convert into lounge cars. "Cattle-carrying" commuter cars deserve to be represented in railroad preservation, but it's going to be an awfully long time before any of us try to preserve and offer for paying passengers the "commuter train experience"....


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