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Amtrak's single level midriff bulge. Why?


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#1 zephyr17

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 03:55 PM

I was thinking about Anderson's stated preference for a standard, single level LD fleet in the future, and I was stuck by the design of Amfleets and Viewliners, which both bulge in the middle.  Why?

 

I guess a case can be made that the somewhat tubular shape of the Amfleets (direct descendant of the Metroliners) could be for structural strength.  But the Viewliners are not tubular, they are two flat surfaces that meet at an angle and I can't imagine it does anything but complicate the structure.

 

No clearance plate is wider in the middle than the top or bottom, past  the first 3' 4" above the railhead and then a short taper at the top.  All the plates, even the restrictive Plate B (unrestricted interchange) allows for a 10' 8" width from there to 13' 9" above the railhead.  So why the bulge?  Why not just take advantage of the entire 10' 8" width straight sided.

 

The Superliners don't buldge, the Acelas don't bulge, the railroads' own passenger fleets never had the bulge.  So what is the purpose?


Edited by zephyr17, 19 June 2018 - 03:56 PM.

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Pre Amtrak: SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr; Amtrak: Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-ORL), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited (NY Section), Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Crescent, Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
Via Rail Canada: Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal); 
Other: BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Alaska Railroad, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX

#2 cpotisch

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:10 PM

The Budd Metroliner was the basis for the Amfleet, and since the Metroliners were supposed to compete with the airlines, and the world was experiencing a bit of an obsession with air travel, they wanted the Metroliners to have the appearance and style of an airplane. Hence the small windows and round body (though the tiny windows were also chosen because people tended to throw rocks at them back then).

 

Viewliners I'm not sure about.


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Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
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#3 trainman74

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:13 PM

Amfleet has been around for over 40 years, and a lot of 40-year-olds bulge in the middle.
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#4 cpotisch

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:24 PM

the Acelas don't bulge

 

They do bulge.  :huh:


Edited by cpotisch, 01 July 2018 - 01:54 PM.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
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#5 PerRock

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:24 PM

Actually the Superliners do, in a sense. They angle out at the bottom coming out to their full width about 1/3 the way up the door. The Acela bulge even more, it's more akin to the Viewliner bulge however you can see it here: http://photobucket.c...k10003.jpg.html

 

Thinking about it, the only equipment that doesn't would be the Horizons & any remaining Heritage equipment.Even the Talgos bulge (but to a much less degree), I noticed (looking for that Acela pic) that the new Acela II is currently planned to have a bulge & I just looked at the planned Midwest cars and they to have a bulge (although it's more like the Superliner's)

 

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#6 jis

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:50 PM

You can distinctly see how the Birghtline cars bulge but the engines don't:

 

newsEngin.18504208_012017-Brghtline-test



#7 zephyr17

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:51 PM

Yeah, I guess Acela's do bulge but relatively subtly.  I was really thinking about the large, very obvious bulges in the Amfleets and Viewliners.  And why?


Edited by zephyr17, 19 June 2018 - 04:53 PM.

Pre Amtrak: SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr; Amtrak: Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-ORL), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited (NY Section), Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Crescent, Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
Via Rail Canada: Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal); 
Other: BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Alaska Railroad, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX

#8 cpotisch

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:53 PM

I feel like the term bulge is pretty broad. If you just take it to mean anything without completely straight sides, then pretty much every carbohydrates can described as bulging. If you take it to mean a car that has a point along the side where its at its widest, then a Superliner wouldnt count, since most of the car is the same width. Even so, that would mean that any curved train car is by definition bulging, which still might be a little broad. My point is, Im not sure if there is any real way to say that one type of train car does bulge, and another type does not.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome


#9 zephyr17

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 05:43 PM

I am really interested .the pretty dramatic width change like in the Viewliners and Amfleets, not a subtly curved side (apparently really subtle in the case of Superliners they always looked straight to me past the flare on the bottom, which is demanded by clearance plates).  I really was wondering why the reason for a change of several inches in the car width.  I can accept that Pennsy and DOT wanted something that echoed airliners in the 1960s for the Metroliners that resulted in the tubular shape of the them and their descendents, the Amfleets, so that was largely aesthetic, although I can see the curved side could add strength.

 

I don't particularly want to get in a "rivet counting" kind of discussion of how to define bulge.

 

So I will narrow the question.  Why do the Viewliners have their very large bulge.  Structurally it doesn't make sense to me, and there is no clearance reason for it.


Edited by zephyr17, 19 June 2018 - 05:47 PM.

Pre Amtrak: SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr; Amtrak: Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-ORL), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited (NY Section), Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Crescent, Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
Via Rail Canada: Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal); 
Other: BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Alaska Railroad, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX

#10 bcanedy

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:01 PM

There is an article in the current Trains magazine that answers this question. I don’t recall exactly what the reason was, so I won’t try to guess at it here.

#11 zephyr17

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:10 PM

Damn, I don't subscribe.


Pre Amtrak: SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr; Amtrak: Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-ORL), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited (NY Section), Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Crescent, Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
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Other: BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Alaska Railroad, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX

#12 RPC

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:23 PM

It's pretty straightforward: the cars are as wide as they can be at 48" above the rail so they can nestle up to a high-level platform. If you want more room at armrest height, you can bulge out the shell so you can have wider seats/roomettes.



#13 BuffaloBoy

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:26 PM

As I get older and fatter, every car I ride bulges when I get on!



#14 zephyr17

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:40 PM

Okay, on all the clearance plates, width reaches its maximum (10' 8") at 3' 4" above the rail head, and remains at maximum pretty much to where it curves in at the very top.  So it is the same maximum width at 3' 4" above the railhead as it is 8 inches higher at 4'.  They don't get any wider than 10' 8" no matter how high you go.  So "as wide as they can be at 48 inches above the rail then bulging out" makes no sense unless the high level platforms don't conform to AAR clearance standards.

 

And why do they then taper in?


Edited by zephyr17, 19 June 2018 - 06:42 PM.

Pre Amtrak: SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr; Amtrak: Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-ORL), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited (NY Section), Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Crescent, Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
Via Rail Canada: Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal); 
Other: BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Alaska Railroad, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX

#15 Palmland

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:46 PM

I’m not sure about the bulging, but they do curve back in at the top. I always thought that was a clearance issue with NEC tunnels??

#16 zephyr17

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:59 PM

They aren't straight above the maximum width just below the window band.  They start tapering back in immediately, well before the curve for the roof.  Again, I am assuming that all the infrastructure (tunnels, platforms) conforms to at least the most restrictive clearance plate, the "unlimited interchange" Plate B.


Edited by zephyr17, 19 June 2018 - 07:07 PM.

Pre Amtrak: SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr; Amtrak: Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-ORL), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited (NY Section), Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Crescent, Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
Via Rail Canada: Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal); 
Other: BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Alaska Railroad, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX

#17 PerRock

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:15 PM

Probably to save material costs. It takes less metal to make a car design like the Viewliners than a squared off one like the Horizons. However conversely it takes more man power to make a Viewliner-like design than a Horizon-like design (not counting the corrugation)... just looking at cut & weld time that is, there may be more manpower variables beneath the skin.

 

peter


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#18 railiner

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:24 PM

Heritage cars are 10 feet wide.  Amfleet and Horizon are 10 feet, 6 inches wide, at their widest.  The Amfleet curve in at floor level, but the Horizon cars have a "notch"....both for the purpose of clearing high level platforms.  Believe Viewliners are also 10 feet, 6 inches max, and angle in for the same reason.

Superliner's are 10 feet, 4 inches wide.  They do not operate by high level platforms, AFAIK....


Edited by railiner, 19 June 2018 - 08:27 PM.

metroblue?

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#19 cpotisch

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:40 PM

(apparently really subtle in the case of Superliners they always looked straight to me past the flare on the bottom, which is demanded by clearance plates).

Superliners don't curve. They're completely straight, though the bottom is slanted inwards.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
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#20 cpotisch

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:44 PM

Probably to save material costs. It takes less metal to make a car design like the Viewliners than a squared off one like the Horizons. However conversely it takes more man power to make a Viewliner-like design than a Horizon-like design (not counting the corrugation)... just looking at cut & weld time that is, there may be more manpower variables beneath the skin.

 

peter

I doubt that that's the reason. Compared to the cost of all the materials and work that goes into building a sleeper, that would be pretty insignificant. Sleepers are not cheap to manufacture, and are designed for comfort, so one would imagine the focus was on offering as much space as possible, and not on any slight savings by using less metal.


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Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome





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