Bombardier BiLevel Coach

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Bi-Level Coach and Cab Car

BiLevel coach in service with South Florida's Tri-Rail
Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley Canada-SNC Lavalin (Canadian Car and Foundry or Can Car) and UTDC-SNC Lavalin (Can Car), Bombardier Transportation
Built at Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario
Constructed 1976-
Entered service 1976
Capacity 136 to 162 (seated); 142 in IV series, 276 standees
Operator see article
Car body riveted or welded aluminum body on a steel frame
Car length 85 ft
Width 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Height 4.85 m (15 ft 11 in)
Doors pneumatically operator doors
Weight 50,000 kg (110,000 lb)
Power supply 480 or 575 V HEP
Braking system(s) pneumatic tread brakes and disk brakes

Bombardier BiLevel coaches are bilevel passenger cars designed to carry up to 360 passengers for regional railways. These carriages are easily identifiable; they are double-decked and are shaped like elongated octagons.


[edit] History

The BiLevel coaches were originally designed by Toronto's regional commuter rail service, GO Transit and Hawker Siddeley Canada in the mid-1970s as a more efficient replacement for GO's original single-deck diesel multiple units[1]. Later coaches were manufactured by Urban Transportation Development Corporation/Can-Car and finally Bombardier, who now own the designs and manufacturing facility. There are more than seven hundred such coaches in service today and all have been built at the company's Thunder Bay Plant.

[edit] Construction

The coaches feature a riveted aluminum body on a steel frame. They are 4.85 m (15 ft 11 in) high and 3 m (9 ft 10 in) wide, and weigh about 61,000 kg (135,000 lb) [2]. Depending on car design and seating configuration, seats are available for between 136 and 162 passengers, along with standing room. All coaches now feature a washroom on the lower level; the original coaches for GO Transit had the washroom on the intermediate level in the same location where the cab is located in cab cars (see below). The coaches have two pairs of doors on each side which allow the entire coach to be emptied in 90 seconds. Some of the newer coaches have electrical outlets for laptop computers and other devices along with small tables.

One major variant is the cab car. The cab car is placed at the end of the train and features a full cab built into the end of the coach, from which the train's locomotive can be remotely controlled. This allows for push-pull operation with a faster turnaround time for trains, by avoiding having to physically turn around the train or locomotive. Unlike the similar driving van trailer used by Britain's InterCity 225, the cab cars are otherwise identical to the regular coaches rather than imitating the design of the locomotive, leading to the appearance that the train is travelling 'backwards'.

Most of these coaches use a 480 volt HEP system for heating, lighting, and air conditioning. The exception to this is with GO Transit which uses a 575 volt system (This is due to difference in power supplies between Canada and the US; in the US, industrial three-phase power is supplied at 480 volts, whereas in Canada, it is supplied at 600 volts — formerly 550 volts). It is for this reason that whenever GO has leased coaches to other agencies, a power unit went with the coaches, or when GO has leased coaches from other agencies, a locomotive with 480 volt HEP capabilities was leased as well.

[edit] Series

Model Operators Notes
Bi-Level I coach GO Transit[3], Metrolink (Southern California) originally built by HSC/Can Car
Bi-Level II coach GO Transit, Metrolink (Southern California), Trinity Railway Express originally built by HSC/Can Car
Bi-Level III coach GO Transit, Metrolink (Southern California), Tri-Rail originally built by UTDC/Can Car
Bi-Level IV coach GO Transit originally built by Urban Transportation Development Corporation/Can Car
Bi-Level V coach GO Transit
Bi-Level VI coach GO Transit, Caltrain, West Coast Express (some leased to GO Transit), Sounder commuter rail, New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Altamont Commuter Express, Trinity Railway Express
Bi-Level VII coach GO Transit, FrontRunner, Agence métropolitaine de transport

[edit] Bi-Level specifications

  • Car Builder: Hawker Siddeley Canada-SNC Lavalin (Can Car) and UTDC-SNC Lavalin (Can Car), Bombardier Transportation
  • Car Body: Aluminum on steel underframe
  • Unit Numbers:
  • Fleet of:
  • Car Length:
  • Car Width:
  • Car Height:
  • Track Gauge:
  • Total Weight:
  • Propulsion System: None
  • Motors:
  • Power:
  • Braking System:
  • Total Seating:
  • Coupling/Numbering Arrangement:
  • Air Conditioning System:
  • Price per car N/A

[edit] Operators

Inside a Metrolink carriage heading towards Orange County, California
The interior of a Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner train
A BiLevel coach in service with Ontario's GO Transit.

Many commuter rail agencies have adopted the Bombardier BiLevel Coach for use in their fleets. They include:

Operator Fleet size Notes
Agence métropolitaine de transport (Montreal, Quebec) 22 cars [4]
Altamont Commuter Express (San Jose, California) 24 cars [5]
Caltrain (San Francisco, California) 25 cars [6]
Coaster (San Diego, California) 28 cars [7], [8]
FrontRunner (Salt Lake City, Utah) 22 cars [9]
GO Transit (Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ontario, and surrounding areas) 470 cars [3]
Metrolink (Greater Los Angeles) 261 cars [10], [11]
Rail Runner Express (Albuquerque, New Mexico) 10 cars [12]
Sounder (Seattle, Washington) 58 cars [13]
Tri-Rail (Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach) 26 cars [14] [8]
Trinity Railway Express (Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas) 17 cars [15], [8]
Virginia Railway Express (Washington, DC - Northern Virginia) 12 cars [8] - leased from Sounder, since returned
West Coast Express (Vancouver, British Columbia) 37 cars [16]

[edit] Similar units

Kawasaki also manufactures a similar product and it is used on diesel lines of the Long Island Rail Road, the MARC Train system in Maryland, MBTA Commuter Rail in the Boston area, and Virginia Railway Express. Note that the Virginia Railway Express sold their cars to MARC.

Bombardier has also designed and is manufacturing the MultiLevel coach for New Jersey Transit and Agence Métropolitaine de Transport. This car is constructed of stainless steel similar to the Kawasaki cars purchased by the agencies listed above, but is built to a much tighter operating envelope, being only 14 feet, 6 inches tall.

List of rival coaches:

  • Canadian Vickers Commuter Cab Car
  • Bombardier Double-Deck Coaches - Europe
  • Kawasaki L2 Double-Deck Coaches
  • Kawasaki L3 Double-Deck Coaches

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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