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New Carriages For Caltrans And IDOT


updated on 7th Sep 2020 10:25 posted on 15th Apr 2020 23:09


In early 2020 Siemens Sacramento finished first of the 137 single-deck cars belonging to the manufacturer’s Viaggio Comfort family. Of those, 49 are destined to Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) and 88 to IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation). A history of this batch began on 9 November 2017, when both authorities announced they awarded a consortium of Sumitomo Corp. of Americas and Siemens a 371 million USD contract for 137 new carriages.

They are destined to replace double-deck carriages from an initial, delayed 2012 order, which was awarded to a consortium of Sumitomo and Nippon Sharyo and which lapsed in 2015 when a prototype car failed to pass a mandatory U. S. crash safety test. Then in August 2017 it was announced that Siemens would replace Nippon Sharyo as subcontractor, and that the specifications were modified to single-deck cars.

The new Viaggio carriages will be of similar design to that of the cars delivered to Brightline in Florida. They will feature the power sockets, bike racks, work tables, Wi-Fi and full ADA accessibility throughout. The Caltrans carriages will be used on the intercity lines throughout California that serve almost 6 million passengers annually, ie. on the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains. IDOT will use its cars on Midwest services.

We asked Siemens:
- what are the main parameters of the new Viaggio cars (their maximum speed, length, width, height, bogie wheelbase, distance between bogie centres, weights empty/occupied, passenger capacity),
- how many driving trailers will be included in the fleet,
- what Sumitomo does specifically within this contract, and where,
- when and where the cars are being tested,
- how many cars were built until now,
- when the completion of authorisation is expected,
- when the start of regular service is envisaged,
- when the final car will be delivered.

We also asked for the interior photos. 

Now Siemens sent us the basic technical description as follows.

The carriages are named Venture by Siemens. They are operating in married pairs, coupled by the way of semi-permanent couplings and fitted with weatherproof gangways, creating a comfortable, safe and fully-ADA compliant passenger movement between the cars. The cars can also be configured for operation in conventional rakes, fitted with standard couplings and weatherproof end doors.

The stainless steel bodyshells feature Crash Energy Management (CEM) crumple zones on both ends, protecting passengers in case of an accident. Seat units fulfill current APTA requirements for strength and crashworthiness. The cars use modern suspension design, with air springs in secondary suspension, delivering a smooth ride while providing maximum safety against derailment. An innovative roof-mounted HVAC system, with next generation air distribution, ensures a consistently pleasant environment for passengers throughout the entire train.

The Venture cars offers three interior configurations: Economy with 70 seats, Eco-Business with 52 seats and Café with 30 seats. They comply with current and anticipated accessibility requirements and feature design enhancements that improve convenience for younger and older passengers. These cars exceed current ADA requirements with wheelchair comfort in mind, including wider aisles (813 mm), wheelchair storage, and fully accessible toilet rooms.

Up to four 864 mm wide sliding-plug entrance doors with retractable steps offer improved ease of entry and exit for high- and low-level platform access. Automatic gap fillers can be installed for dedicated high-level boarding. Onboard wheelchair lifts at the doors support ADA passenger entry and exit at low-level platforms. Interior sliding plug doors separate the entrance vestibules from the passenger seating area and reduce noise levels. Continuous data monitoring of the car performance ensures early detection of faults, for proactive maintenance.

Principial technical data:
Maximum operational speed - 125 mph (202 km/h)
Length over couplings - 25,908 mm
Distance between bogie centres - 18,136 mm
Bogie wheelbase - 2,590 mm
Width - 3,201 mm
Height - 4,268 mm above rail top
Floor height - 1,296 mm above rail top

 

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