View Full Version : Double deck passenger cars

07-19-2005, 05:48 AM
There are some designs that I can figure out, but others that have me a bit puzzled.

Amtrak's Superliners only have a partial lower level, which rides very close to the tracks. Part of what would be the lower floor is taken up by the trucks.

The Sounder cars used by GO Transit and others are single level at the ends and double in the middle, with ramps going up and down.

The double deck cars used by Chicago & Northwestern (and now Caltrain and Metra, I think) are the ones that have me puzzled. These have similar dimensions to the Superliners, but both floors apparently extend the whole length of the car. The doors are on the lower level, and there are windows along the sides of both levels. The car ends have windows on the upper level ends so they can serve as cabs, I guess.

Here are a couple photos of the C&NW cars and one of a Superliner for comparison.


What has me confused is how they manage to have two complete floors in a car that's about as tall as a Superliner and has a higher bottom floor. Are the ceilings lower? I don't get it.

I drew up some not-to-scale diagrams in MSPaint. Gray areas are where people can't go.

07-20-2005, 03:52 PM
There are not two full floors in the Metra (CNW, CBQ, etc) bilevels, but rather 1 and a half.


The entrance from the platform is lowered, in the center of the car, with stairs up to the first floor.


On either side of the vestibule are the passenger spaces. When entering either side of the car, there are stairs on both sides leading up to the upper levels on both sides. The whole car is open, so that the conductor can collect all the tickets without going upstairs.


Here's the upstairs, with the luggage rack in the space between.


The height between the lower-level seats and the upper floors is about 5'8" or so, but the center aisle is tall enough to walk through, as are the upper level aisles.

Hope that clears your suspicions of the impossibly-two-level bilevels!

John J. Poshepny
07-20-2005, 07:10 PM
The Superlines in there non seating area have the Water Heaters, Eletrical stuff and Luggage locker in the Blackened out area on your Diagram.

07-21-2005, 03:34 AM
Yep, I knew about what was in the crawl spaces in the Superliners.

The diagrams and photos of the Metra cars were very helpful. I think I get it now. A description I read of a similar car which read "adding extra seats in what would normally be the carryon luggage racks" makes sense now too.

Just be glad we don't use double deck cars like these: http://members.tripod.com/~dart75/bddscut.htm

07-21-2005, 05:00 PM
Just be glad we don't use double deck cars like these: http://members.tripod.com/~dart75/bddscut.htm

That design is not all that different from a French sleeping car I rode in last fall between Basel and Paris.

"Bi-level" cars such as Sounder, MARC, MBTA (Bombardier or Kawasaki) have two full decks in the center of the car with small platforms at "normal" height above the rail at the ends. The ceilings are a little low for me at 6'3".