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bikkuri bahn

Double decker trains for British railways?

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railsquid

Regarding doors, Southern run a fleet of 24 Express units, mainly for Gatwick services; the class 442. These are 5-coach sets based on the BR mark 3 carriage. They are fast and comfortable, but totally unsuitable for the role they are expected to fulfill.

 

This is mainly due to the location of the doors, which are at the ends of the vehicle - so-called 'end loading'. For express services, that is fine, but for commuting journeys with lots of stopping, it is a problem. It means passengers are closely grouped on the platform and they have one-way dissemination once they board; i.e. they can only really turn one way to get into the carriage. This adds significant time to a station dwell time, leading to delays. It is no surprise that last year the least punctual train in the UK was the 07:41 Brighton to Victoria semi-fast (which managed to arrive on time less than 10 times in 2014!) was formed of a pair of these units.

 

Not a terribly good choice for an airport express train either. Still, at least the doors are automatic (I think) unlike (some of?) the HST coaches still (which was a bit of a culture shock for Mrs. Railsquid). And according to Wikipedia they do hold the world speed record for a third rail train with 174 km/h (108 mph), attained on 11 April 1988.

Edited by railsquid

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Azumanga Davo

UK high speed lines have a Continental loading gauge though?  That might be a solution perhaps (although a very restricted plan).

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dabsan

The 4DD had a few problems:

 

It was cramped. As might be expected when trying to cram two decks of passengers into the UK loading gauge. The compartments were offset so the seats upstairs ended up over the heads of the passengers downstairs (rather than their feet being above head height downstairs) but there was very little room. Even worse in hot weather as the upper windows didn't open, and aircon wasn't fitted.

 

It took longer at stations, as you were trying to cram almost twice as many people through the same number of doors.

 

There are a couple of driving motor coaches left, but I'm not sure what state either is in. One is just recorded as being in poor condition on a "private site", which sounds horribly like the sort of person who buys something unique then lets it rot while refusing to sell, as "I'll restore it one day". The other might have a better chance as it's on a preserved railway.

 

Modern technology would get around the lack of ventilation, but wouldn't help with the lack of room. If anything it'd be worse as people are bigger now (not just because too many people live on McDonalds either - a healthy person of 2015 is bigger than someone from 1950s Britain). The door problem would be even worse too, as we seem to suffer from large numbers of self-centred twonks who do things like trying to get onto the train before anyone has a chance to get off (leading to something resembling a passive-aggressive rugby scrum), or standing gormlessly in the doorway for ages rather than walking further onto the train and finding a seat!

Great description of boarding a UK train :toothy12: and a lot of interesting information. 

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Mr Frosty

I think longer trains would be easier. Trains used to be made from 4 car units, typically 12 coaches long on express trains. Now a days, 5 coach units seem more common, but only use 10 cars on longer trains. Loosing 2 carriages has to reduce capacity compared to a 12 coach train.

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Socimi

Here in Italy, most of Milan's suburban railway network uses the Ale711 series double-decker EMUs, usually in double 4-car formation or a single 6-car unit, but during peak times we're still overcrowded because our trains run with a 10-minutes frequency.

I think that not only having double-decker carriages would help, incerase train frequency should be used, especially in countries wich gauge doesn't tollerate multiple decks such as Japan or UK. Japan has already done it (see Yamanote line).

 

Here is the Ale711 series

normal_Trenord_ALe711_008_Tavazzano_(101

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Ewan.in.gz

As many others have pointed out, the biggest issues with double deck trains are the dwell times. In heavy commuter services like the Yamanote or Saikyo Line, double deck cars would actually delay the trains, which is why JR-East only uses bi-level Green Cars on the very long run "express" commuter routes.

 

The 2 Shinkansen trains mentioned, the E1 and E4, were designed for all-stations "local" Shinkansen runs, equivalent to Hikari services, because then they would serve the majority of people using the Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen for around the Kanto region. The E1 and E4 "Max" Shinkansen only have a maximum service speed of 240 km/h for that reason.

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railsquid

Going back on topic, the London-orientated commuter route for which these are suggested is a longer-distance one, where the majority of passengers will be joining the train for the final destination (and vice-versa), so at each stop the majority of passengers will be boarding (London-bound trains) or getting off the train (trains originating in London), which should reduce the potential for congestion.

 

Having been on a British train last week, I'm still mystified how a proper double-decker train could be constructed with the existing loading gauge.

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railsquid

UK high speed lines have a Continental loading gauge though?  That might be a solution perhaps (although a very restricted plan).

 

Also the Nene Valley Railway ;)

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Socimi

Increasing boarding and Un-Boarding frequency can be done with multiple doors per side, something that british know very well...

 

(see 302, 304, 305, 307, 308, 413, 415, 416, 423 etc... series)

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kvp

The previous attempt had 2 pairs of doors for every 2 seating bay and still had trouble with passenger flow. Anything short of two doors on top of each other wouldn't really work.

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Welshbloke

Not a terribly good choice for an airport express train either. Still, at least the doors are automatic (I think) unlike (some of?) the HST coaches still (which was a bit of a culture shock for Mrs. Railsquid). And according to Wikipedia they do hold the world speed record for a third rail train with 174 km/h (108 mph), attained on 11 April 1988.

 

Weird thing about the Class 442/5-WES. The traction motors and control gear are actually second hand.

 

BR recovered them from the earlier 4-REP units. These were essentially a four car EMU on steroids, with a power output similar to that of some big diesels. They were designed to push or pull two four car trailer units (4-TC), with through gangways giving access to the REP's restaurant car. There are reliable reports of REP + TC + TC formations hitting 100mph, and it wasn't unheard of for an inspection saloon to be attached to the back of the train too.

 

The REPs and TCs were retired when the third rail was extended to Weymouth, as the original intention was for the REP to stop at Bournemouth and a push-pull fitted diesel to take the TCs on to Weymouth.

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Mr Frosty

I always liked the old class 423. Having a door with an opening window for every block of seats was excellent for quick access/egress to the train and getting a good blast of fresh air in the summer.

423409%20Clapham%20Junction%20010503g-L.

 

 

The seats were also really comfortable. Decent thick padding unlike today's sparse offerings. And you could actually get something bigger than a briefcase on the luggage racks. Something that is almost impossible with the long racks running down the side of the train above the windows.

post-7515-0-32878100-1311640911_thumb.jp

Edited by Mr Frosty
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Claude_Dreyfus

I much prefer the 421 - far more comfortable!

 

Carriage%20Interior_zpsu4cmitsu.jpg

 

IMG_2054_zps9hocxyri.jpg

 

The 2x2 seating is far better than the hateful 3x2 seating of the 423s.

Edited by Claude_Dreyfus
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