Light Rail Transit Vehicles

floor would be lower than the elevation of solid axles. The usual resolution is to use trucks that do not have conventional solid axles extending from wheel to wheel. Instead, the four wheels are each connected directly to a u-shaped frame that passes beneath the floor. Each wheel, lacking a mechanical connection to another, therefore rotates independently and is naturally called an independently rotating wheel (IRW). As an alternative to IRW trucks, at least one manufacturer has developed a truck using conventional solid axles connecting very small diameter wheels. This design also ramps the floor of the articulation body section slightly above that of the floor by the doors. However, small diameter wheels will have a smaller contact patch with the top of rail and thereby increase wheel/rail contact stresses, possibly increasing rail wear and corrugation rates. Because of constrained space, these special truck designs beneath the center sections of 70% low-floor LRVs are generally non-powered. Propulsion is provided only at the conventional trucks under the ends of the car. However, 100% low-floor cars must provide propulsion at trucks under the low-floor, and carbuilders have come up with several ingenious, albeit complex, methods for doing this. Because of this complexity, 70% low-floor cars using conventional power trucks have generally been considered more reliable than 100% low-floor cars. Nevertheless, the 100% lowfloor LRV has been almost exclusively adopted for new vehicle purchases by in-street tramway type operations in Europe and also by some of the stadtbahn-type operations. As of 2010, the first 100% low-floor LRV specified in North America was being produced for Toronto Transit Commission. The Toronto cars are also specified to negotiate a 36-foot [11-meter] radius curve. The degree to which the carbuilder succeeds in meeting the Toronto requirements may radically change preferences for light rail vehicle design. As of 2010, the lowest 100% low-floor LRV was the Vienna Ultra-Low-Floor (ULF) car, with the floor a mere 200 mm [about 8 inches] above the top of the rail. The traction motors of the ULF car are mounted vertically within the articulation sections. As of 2010, this design has not been adopted elsewhere. The conventional trucks that are under the end body segments of 70% low-floor cars rotate with respect to the carbody. By contrast, the trucks under 100% low-floor LRVs generally do not rotate and are, for all practical considerations, rigidly fixed to the carbody. This configuration has resulted in vehicle designs that are radical departures from high-floor and partial low-floor designs and vehicles that have significantly different steering and curve negotiation characteristics. Carbody Strength, Crashworthiness, and Mass Introduction Up until about 1970, there were no codes or standards for the overall strength requirements of a transit vehicle carbody that were fully based in engineering principles. Beginning about that time, the usual requirement in specifications became that the carbody needed to accept, without structural failure, a longitudinal static “buff load” equal to two times its own mass. This was known as the “2-g standard,” although it was never actually codified as a mandatory requirement except in the State of California.[5] Under the 2-g standard, if the vehicle weighed 125,000 pounds [556 kilonewtons] it needed to have a minimum buff strength of 250,000 pounds [1,112 kilonewtons]. Naturally, the addition of more steel to make the carbody stronger also increased


Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, Second Edition

its mass, with the result that new transit cars were much heavier than their predecessors. This extra weight had impacts on power consumption, structure design, and track design. Crash Energy Management In response to those issues and following the lead of European LRV manufacturers, crash energy management (CEM) principles began to be incorporated into the design of light rail vehicles for North American use. CEM, which has been used in the automotive industry for decades, recognizes that designing the vehicle body to collapse in a controlled and predictable manner during a collision is better at minimizing injuries to the vehicle occupants than just merely making the carbody stronger. Beginning with a procurement of light rail vehicles for New Jersey Transit in the mid-1990s, CEM design principles began to replace the old 2-g criterion.[1], [2], [3] Subsequently, new standards were developed on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, European Norm (EN) 15227—Railway applications—Crashworthiness requirements for railway vehicle bodies, [6] was implemented in 2008. A companion standard is EN 12663—Railway applications—Structural requirements of railway vehicle bodies. [7] In North America, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers developed ASME RT-1— Safety Standard for Structural Requirements for Light Rail Vehicles.[8] ASME RT-1, which is somewhat more restrictive and conservative than EN 15227, became effective in 2010. An updated edition is expected to be issued by ASME in 2014. As of 2010, for North American applications, either the ASME RT-1 or EN 15227 are voluntary (as was the old 2-g criterion) unless they are adopted and codified by either federal or state regulation. The European Norm and ASME RT-1 differ in several respects, and the latter is generally more rigid. For example, ASME RT-1 includes a collision scenario at 25 mph [40 km/h] while the equivalent EN 15227 test is performed at 25 km/h [16 mph]. Hence, vehicles designed to just meet the European Norms will likely not comply with ASME RT-1. The 100% low-floor cars for Toronto Transit Commission’s legacy streetcar system were specified to meet EN 15227, with a slightly higher Category 4 speed, since ASME RT-1 existed only in draft form at the time of the procurement in 2008. The cars for Toronto’s Transit City program (underway as of 2010) were similarly specified under EN 15227 rather than changing from one voluntary standard to another. Since nearly all North American LRVs are designed and at least partially built overseas, the lack of consistency between European and North American standards increases procurement costs. The resultant heavier vehicles also have long-term ramifications concerning operating energy costs and loading and wear and tear on the track structure. As of this writing, it is unclear whether consistency between the North American and European standards will be possible. What does seem clear is that many of the lightweight LRVs that are common in other parts of the world are unlikely to be used in the United States, particularly on any project that utilizes federal funding. However, this situation is evolving. As of early 2011, revisions to ASME RT-1 that would eliminate all structural requirements that are inconsistent with European standards and may


Light Rail Transit Vehicles

unnecessarily increase the procurement costs are under consideration. Whether those changes will be adopted in whole or part cannot be predicted, and rail transit design practitioners must therefore keep current with evolving best practices. LRV Bumpers A key feature of many modern LRVs is a front end bumper that is designed around crash energy management principles. The bumper typically extends from a few inches above the rails to the floor level of the LRV. The bumper is designed to rotate upward, revealing the LRV coupler. The coupler itself, which traditionally extended out an appreciable distance beyond the front of the LRV, is now hinged and can be folded back behind the closed bumper. The bumper conceals the traditional anticlimber as well as the coupler, but is not primarily intended to be merely cosmetic. Because of the CEM design, in the event of a collision, the bumper actually minimizes damage to any motor vehicles. It also makes it far less likely that an automobile would become wedged beneath the front of an LRV. Similarly, the bumper makes it more likely that a struck pedestrian will be pushed aside instead of being pulled beneath the front of the LRV. As of 2011, bumpers are not universal on new light rail vehicles, but it seems likely that they will become a common feature for any LRVs that have extensive operations in public streets. Vehicle Mass As an example of what CEM principles can mean to carbody mass, it is useful to compare the 70% low-floor LRVs built for New Jersey Transit with those delivered to Santa Clara County (San Jose), California. The latter were constructed to the 2-g criterion under California PUC regulation 143-B while the former were designed around CEM principles. The same carbuilder produced both cars, and they have the same overall dimensions, performance, and capacity. The California car has a maximum wheel load at AW2 loading that is 540 pounds [245 kg] greater than that of the New Jersey LRV, a difference of 3.2 tons [2.9 metric tonnes] per car. The difference will result in appreciable propulsion energy cost savings over the life cycle of the New Jersey Transit car as well as less loading and wear and tear on the track. Table 2.2.1 compares the vehicle mass per unit of floor area between comparable 100% low-floor and 70% low-floor cars from selected European and North American cities. The difference averages about 100 kg/m2 [about 20.5 lb/ft2]. For an LRV that is 27.5 meters [90 feet] long and 2700 mm [8.9 feet] wide, this amounts to 7425 kg (16,390 lb) of additional weight that the vehicle must carry around through its entire service life, with implications for both energy consumption and loads applied to the track structure. In addition, the 100% low-floor vehicle may produce lower wheel/rail contact stresses than those produced by the 70% low-floor vehicle. One part of the difference in vehicle mass between low-floor and conventional articulated vehicles with solid axles is due to the deletion of the traditional truck. However, a major part of the difference is the different standards under which the cars were specified. Of the two North American 70% low-floor cars in Table 2.1, only the New Jersey Transit car was designed around CEM principles. Several of the European vehicles predate EN 15227 and EN 12663 and their degree of compliance with those standards is unclear. It is also very likely that most of these vehicles may not comply with ASME RT-1; therefore, for purposes of potential North American application, they may be irrelevant. Some might also argue that some of these vehicles are “trams” as opposed to “light rail vehicles.” As noted in Chapter 1, European light rail operations typically don’t make such distinctions between vehicle types. 2-11

Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, Second Edition

Table 2.2.2 shows some of the characteristics of modern light rail vehicles operating in North American cities as of 2010. The table is not intended to be a comprehensive reference of every vehicle or every system now operating but rather an illustration of the rather wide array of vehicles that a track designer might encounter on any given project. Because light rail systems are constantly purchasing new cars and retiring older cars (and, in some cases, selling retired cars to other systems), the table is merely a snapshot of a dynamic condition. Track engineers working on designs for any transit system, including those listed below, should obtain up-to-date information on the agency’s current LRV fleets before commencing any design. Table 2.2.1 Relative mass of 100% vs. 70% low-floor LRVs 100% Low-floor LRVs City Lille Socimi Strasbourg Munich (Munchen) Chemnitz Frankfurt Turin (Torino) Vienna (Wien) ULF Weight – lbs/ft2 [Mass – kg/m2] 98 [480] 64 [312] 90 [440] 99 [482] 71 [345] 106 [516] 96 [470] 80 [388] City Kassel Valencia NJ Transit Rostock Vienna (Wien) “T” Portland Grenoble Bochum Leipzig Heidelberg AVERAGE 88 [429] AVERAGE 70% Low-floor LRVs Weight – lbs/ft2 [Mass – kg/m2] 93 [456] 107 [521] 114 [558] 95 [462] 100 [489] 132 [644] 133 [650] 100 [486] 107 [523] 97 [473] 108 [526]


Light Rail Transit Vehicles

Table 2.2.2 Light rail vehicle characteristics matrix (2010 data)
CITY Carbuilder/Model 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Baltimore ABB Boston KS Breda Buffalo Tokyu Calgary Siemens SD 160 Charlotte Siemens S 70 Cleveland Breda Dallas KS 1 KS 2 Denver Siemens SD 100 Siemens SD 160 Edmonton Duewag U 2 Siemens SD-160 Houston Siemens S 70 Los Angeles Nippon Siemens SD100 Siemens P2000 Breda 2550 Minneapolis BBD Flexity New Jersey Kinki Sharyo BBD (DMU) Norfolk Siemens S 70 Philadelphia City Suburban Phoenix Kinki Sharyo Pittsburgh Duewag /CAF CAF Portland Bombardier Siemens SD 660 Siemens S 70 Skoda Inekon Sacramento Siemens SD 100 CAF UTDC St. Louis Siemens SD100-1 Siemens SD100-2 Salt Lake Siemens SD 100 UTDC Siemens S70 DELIVERY YEAR 1989/1995 1982 2000 1985 1999/2008 2004/2008 1982 1998 2007 1995 2008 1982 2009 2004 1992 1993 1999 2008 2004 2000 2005 2008 1982 1982 2008 1984/R2005 2004 1986 2000 2009 2006 1991 2003 1989 1993 2001 2002 1989 2010 WEIGHT AW0 lbs 108,000 85,000 86,300 71,000 89,600 96,800 91,300 108,000 140,000 88,000 67,300 91,700 98,500 98,000 98,000 89,000 99,180 93,500 119,000 96,800 57,300 59,500 102,000 97,000 100,000 92,150 109,000 99,000 56,000 77,175 93,735 98,700 90,390 93,000 88,000 98,700 TDB MAXIMUM WHEEL LOAD lbs 12,000 9,350 9,500 11,000 9,800 10,700 9,800 11,600 15,176 9,650 7,900 9,960 10,950 10,700 10,700 9,970 10,940 10,350 18,000 10,720 6,200 11,100 10,500 10,740 10,200 11,700 10,990 9,813 8,690 10,190 10,740 10,080 10,290 9,650 10,740 TDB LENGTH Feet 95 74 74 66’-10” 81’5” 93’6” 80’ 92’6” 123’6” 81’6” 79’8” 81’4” 96’6” 89’ 89’ 90’ 94’ 90’ 102’ 93’6” 50’ 91’5” 84’8” 84’8” 89’1” 92’0” 96’6” 66’0” 79’6” 83’9” 88’6” 89’5” 89’5” 81’5” 88’6” TDB CARBODY CONFIGURATION 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 4-axle 1-carbody 6-axle 2 carbody 6 axle 3 carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 8-axle 3-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6 axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 3-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6 axle 3-carbody 6 axle 3-carbody 6 axle 3-carbody 6-axle 3-carbody 4-axle 1-carbody Single end Double end 6-axle 3-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 3-carbody 4-axle 3-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 3-carbody FLOOR LEVEL High High 50% Low High High 70% low High High Low High High High 70% low High High High High 70% low 70% low 70% low 70% low High High 70% low High High High High 70 % low 50% low High High High High High High High 60% Low

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Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, Second Edition

Table 2.2.2 Light rail vehicle characteristics matrix (2010 data) (continued)
CITY Carbuilder/Model 22 23 Seattle Kinki Sharyo San Diego Siemens U2 Siemens SD100 Siemens S 70 San Francisco Breda San Jose Kinki Sharyo Toronto UTDC CLRV UTDC ALRV DELIVERY YEAR 2008 1989 1996 2005 1998 2001 1982 1987 WEIGHT AW0 lbs 102,000 71,800 88,000 95,500 78,000 99,980 51,000 78,600 MAXIMUM WHEEL LOAD lbs 11,200 8,250 9,650 10,540 8,630 10,890 8,612 8,750 LENGTH Feet 95’0” 79’8” 81’5” 90’7” 75’0” 90’0” 52’6” 77’6” CARBODY CONFIGURATION 6-axle 3-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 3-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody 6-axle 3-carbody 4-axle 1-carbody 6-axle 2-carbody FLOOR LEVEL 70% low High High 70% low High 70% low High High

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No attempt was made to include vintage or heritage streetcars in Table 2.2.2 since they come in so many versions. Further, since even the newest of the vintage PCC streetcars still operating in the United States will be 60 years old in 2012, it is an open question how long the use of any such vintage equipment in daily revenue service can be sustained. Modern low-floor streetcars, which can directly comply with ADAAG without resorting to wheelchair lifts and/or ramps and which could also easily be constructed with a faux antique appearance, would seem to be a more rational choice for new streetcar programs. As is the case with any modern light rail car, the track designer should inquire as to the characteristics of any vintage streetcars that might be proposed to occasionally operate over the system so they can be accommodated in the design of both track alignment and trackwork. 2.3 VEHICLE CLEARANCES This article discusses the dimensional characteristics of the light rail vehicle. This includes not only the static vehicle at rest, but also the additional dynamic movements the LRV can make due to both resiliency and possible failures in the vehicle suspension system. The result is a definition of the vehicle dynamic envelope (VDE). The VDE, plus additional factors, defines the track clearance envelope (TCE), which sets the minimum distances between the centerline of track and any infrastructure alongside of the track as well as the minimum distances between tracks. Because the TCE includes elements that are unrelated to the vehicle, it will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3. 2.3.1 Vehicle Clearance Envelopes Clearance standards for various types of railroad cars are well documented by the use of graphics or “plates.” For railroad equipment, one standard is the common “Plate C.” Any car whose static dimensions fit within the limits established on Plate C can travel virtually anywhere on the North American railroad system. Transit systems do not have similar national standards. Therefore, transit vehicle manufacturers must develop vehicles that fit within the clearance requirements of the system for which the car is intended. Conversely, transit system designers should, whenever possible, configure the infrastructure so as to allow clear passage of as broad a universe of candidate LRVs as possible. While manufacturers can, in theory,