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MetroShadow

News: Metra to explore buying 200+ cars

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1 hour ago, MetroShadow said:

Metra goes back to the drawing board and plans to order 200+ railcars. 

 

/the question is will they explore another design beyond the legacy ones?

We'll see.  Even if they only modify the current design similar to the South shore Highliners, that would be an improvement.   Metra should"ve adopted that for the ME if for no other reason than the old Highliners proved the faster boarding that the first new set of Highliners couldn't. 

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10 hours ago, artthouwill said:

We'll see.  Even if they only modify the current design similar to the South shore Highliners, that would be an improvement.   Metra should"ve adopted that for the ME if for no other reason than the old Highliners proved the faster boarding that the first new set of Highliners couldn't. 

How was the design modified?

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20 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

Metra goes back to the drawing board and plans to order 200+ railcars. 

 

/the question is will they explore another design beyond the legacy ones?

Yes.

From the Metra site:

"Metra issues RFP for new railcars that allows for alternative designs

Metra today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for at least 200 new railcars, and it is allowing manufacturers to propose alternative car designs that may address Metra’s needs better than the bi-level gallery cars that have been used in Chicago for nearly 70 years.

....

One important consideration will be to increase seating capacity. Since yard space and platform length currently limit the number and length of trains that can operate, increasing the seating capacity is a relatively fast and efficient way to meet increased ridership demand within our physical confines.

In addition, the interior design of the seats, aisles, stairwells and doors must create the most efficient passenger flow possible. The seats must have arm rests and cup holders, and manufacturers have the option of proposing features such as USB ports, foot rests and tray tables with the seats. Heated floors also can be proposed as an option.

The new cars also must include bike racks for two to five bikes, a camera/DVR system for the passenger area and LED lighting. Onboard Wi-Fi may be proposed as an option; but if the proposal does not include Wi-Fi, there must be provisions for it to be added later.

Some alternative car designs now available have lower, platform-level boarding that could benefit ADA customers and families with strollers when boarding and detraining. Others have different side-loading door configurations that could potentially decrease the time it takes passengers to board and exit the train, which could also speed train trips."

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I hope Metra will put up a poll before final designs are decided on. Like on the latest cars I think the seats could be better. Most of the time i feel like I am sitting on top of the seat instead of in it. I am comparing this to the seats on the 7200 cars with the squared red seats... those are the best!! That’s just my wishful thinking 🤔 

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If they could just get rid of the whole "gallery" aspect, that'd be great. I love sitting on the top level of cars, but not Metra's. Outlets are also a must, part of the reason I love taking the ME.

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43 minutes ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

If they could just get rid of the whole "gallery" aspect, that'd be great. I love sitting on the top level of cars, but not Metra's. Outlets are also a must, part of the reason I love taking the ME.

The other lines have electric outlets you just need to find the cars that look like the ME. A lot of diesel lines have new and old cars mixed 

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Now that metra recieved 1.6 Billion, wouldn't it mean that they'll be purchasing 200 more cars since funding is now available?

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32 minutes ago, John7 said:

Now that metra recieved 1.6 Billion, wouldn't it mean that they'll be purchasing 200 more cars since funding is now available?

In short, I believe the answer is/could be yes. The RFP is for 200-400. Presumably, seeing as Metra stated that they could pay for ~200 before the 1.6 billion, I assume they'll be able to acquire the other ~200. Happy to be wrong.

Real question is manufacturer. Bombardier is pretty much the only one I can think of that still makes bilevels, unless Kawasaki is going to jump back into the game or Siemens has been working on a bilevel design we don't know about yet (and they don't really make passenger cars for commuter rail, I can't think of anything other than the Brightline trainsets). Stadler might jump, but I think they do MUs only and not just rail cars

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12 hours ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

In short, I believe the answer is/could be yes. The RFP is for 200-400. Presumably, seeing as Metra stated that they could pay for ~200 before the 1.6 billion, I assume they'll be able to acquire the other ~200. Happy to be wrong.

Real question is manufacturer. Bombardier is pretty much the only one I can think of that still makes bilevels, unless Kawasaki is going to jump back into the game or Siemens has been working on a bilevel design we don't know about yet (and they don't really make passenger cars for commuter rail, I can't think of anything other than the Brightline trainsets). Stadler might jump, but I think they do MUs only and not just rail cars

Stadler has built sleeping cars for the UK.

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1 hour ago, busfan2847 said:

Stadler has built sleeping cars for the UK.

For the UK. And Metra isn't getting sleeping cars. Stadler has only made their FLIRT & GTW variants in America. Construction of the KISS trainsets hasn't been finished yet, and I also don't believe they have a non-electric, non-MU variant, so those trainsets are truly only valid for the ME or when/if the RI receives electrification

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Others that haven’t been considered (purposely or not) are Hyundai. CRRC could bid, but the current climate in Washington may dictate the opposite. 

Stadler is making Caltrain’s bilevels now, but they are in EMU form. As mentioned previously, we’d have to put a loco and make the specs capable of that connection.

Does Alstom have any bilevel products?

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5 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

Others that haven’t been considered (purposely or not) are Hyundai. CRRC could bid, but the current climate in Washington may dictate the opposite. 

Stadler is making Caltrain’s bilevels now, but they are in EMU form. As mentioned previously, we’d have to put a loco and make the specs capable of that connection.

Does Alstom have any bilevel products?

Totally forgot about Hyundai, especially the Boston cars since they look nearly identical to the Kawasakis that MBTA and MARC have. I know Tri-Rail had problems with their delivery, but Metrolink has been mostly issue free other than that 2015 incident. Alstom has no bilevels products that I know of, and they usually stay within metro/subway systems. Interesting enough, they're making the Avelia Liberty for Amtrak right now. It's European sister, the Avelia Horizon, is bilevel, but no clue on whether it can be built to FRA standards

My overall prediction is Bombardier and Hyundai bidding, although its a toss-up as to who wins, seeing as they basically have the exact same car (I don't see MultiLevels serving anything except the ME, seeing as there'e about to be a EMU variant). Hyundai hasn't had to make their model in 6 years though, while Bombardier has at least been kept consistent by Toronto

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Theres no point on guessing what cars they'll be buying since they already confirmed that they'll be buying bi level cars. The same cars as nj transit has.

NJ_Transit_Multilevel_7014_on_Train_6651.jpg

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36 minutes ago, John7 said:

Theres no point on guessing what cars they'll be buying since they already confirmed that they'll be buying bi level cars. The same cars as nj transit has.

Ooh, MultiLevels are nice. MARC train has some (that are better than NJTransit's, mostly due to outlets and coat hooks) and SEPTA and NJTransit are due to receive some, but I've digressed. I trust you have a source or news article saying this? I ask because Metra hasn't awarded Bombardier anything (look under the procurement awards tab, and then in both sub-tabs) in at least the last 2 years & has also yet to announce who won the bid, especially seeing as proposals (Bid ID: 37383-JO) aren't due until August. If you have a source however, I'm happy to be wrong.

Furthermore, while Bombardier could win (only other competition is Hyundai Rotem, who has a chance with Metra), I'm hesitant that they'll just use the MultiLevel design without significant changes: The MultiLevels are primarily designed for high-floor platforms: 4 doors (3 in cab cars), 2 that are high-floor only and the other 2 having trapdoors that have to be opened by the conductor or savvy/regular, paying-attention passenger, that might also require a stepstool (as has always been my experience) as opposed to 1 central, at-grade door that can be opened automatically, not sure about the stepstool. Having personally been on MultiLevels on MARC and NJTransit lines with many low-floor platforms, they become much, much less efficient. Their usefulness would be hampered on the Metra system outside of the ME (in EMU form) and the HC (few trains, few stops). This, combined with the fact that Bombardier still makes BiLevels, leads me to believe that if they bid, they'd bid with that.

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3 hours ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

Ooh, MultiLevels are nice. MARC train has some (that are better than NJTransit's, mostly due to outlets and coat hooks) and SEPTA and NJTransit are due to receive some, but I've digressed. I trust you have a source or news article saying this? I ask because Metra hasn't awarded Bombardier anything (look under the procurement awards tab, and then in both sub-tabs) in at least the last 2 years & has also yet to announce who won the bid, especially seeing as proposals (Bid ID: 37383-JO) aren't due until August. If you have a source however, I'm happy to be wrong.

Furthermore, while Bombardier could win (only other competition is Hyundai Rotem, who has a chance with Metra), I'm hesitant that they'll just use the MultiLevel design without significant changes: The MultiLevels are primarily designed for high-floor platforms: 4 doors (3 in cab cars), 2 that are high-floor only and the other 2 having trapdoors that have to be opened by the conductor or savvy/regular, paying-attention passenger, that might also require a stepstool (as has always been my experience) as opposed to 1 central, at-grade door that can be opened automatically, not sure about the stepstool. Having personally been on MultiLevels on MARC and NJTransit lines with many low-floor platforms, they become much, much less efficient. Their usefulness would be hampered on the Metra system outside of the ME (in EMU form) and the HC (few trains, few stops). This, combined with the fact that Bombardier still makes BiLevels, leads me to believe that if they bid, they'd bid with that.

I've ridden LA Metrolink multilevel cars & they are all low board stations.

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31 minutes ago, strictures said:

I've ridden LA Metrolink multilevel cars & they are all low board stations.

Metrolink has Bombardier BiLevels and Hyundai Rotem BiLevels (based on Bombardier's design). These cars, much like the gallery cars Metra has, are optimized for low-floor platforms (in this case, 2 entrances, both at-grade). The car that @John7 mentioned and that I was talking about was the Bombardier MultiLevel, only operated by 3 transit agencies in North America (Greater Washington DC, New Jersey & Montreal). To be fair, Montreal's coaches are somewhat set up for low floor boarding (the end doors do not have trapdoors like NJTransit & MARC), but again, still inefficient compared to the current gallery design or BiLevel design.

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