There is quite an assortment of rolling stock at the Innotrans 2016 show, but I have selected one in particular to serve as an example of what is being built for other cities. It isn’t necessarily something that should be grabbed as a complete design and immediately put to use in Seattle, as it has a number of features that were requested by the operator. It does illustrate what features other cities have asked to have on their transit equipment and some of these features may be useful to consider when looking at what might one day operate in Seattle.
The particular car I have selected is the Krakowiak, built by Pesa for the Krakow, Poland tram (streetcar) system.
Some basic numbers:
Length: 141 feet in four car sections
Number of seats: 93
Full passenger capacity: 284
Maximum Speed: 43 mph
By the numbers it doesn’t seem so impressive I suppose. It sounds like a fairly typical streetcar, though obviously a bit longer than what is currently in use in Seattle, Tacoma or Portland. Though, it should be pointed out that in the not too distant past streetcars in use in Krakow weren’t this long either, but the transition to longer cars proved desirable for a number of reasons.
Taking a look inside gives an impression the numbers don’t necessarily reveal:
While most of the doors have a fair amount of space for passengers to move around, one door is the designated bike door and pictured above is their solution to bike storage.
While this particular method of stowing a bike on transit equipment takes up a bit of space, it also eliminates some of the issues with having people lift their bikes into a hook. The door is equipped with a sign that indicates bikes need to board at that particular door.
I found it interesting that some of the seats were equipped with these very small tables.
I found it especially interesting that these tables were each equipped with USB power outlets.
USB power outlets seems to be an extremely popular thing for transit equipment these days. At least two of the battery buses on display at the show have them, as well as a number of rail transit cars.
The car is essentially 100% low floor, and there are no stairs at all from the entry to the rest of the car floor. While this does mean that the wheels protrude into the passenger area, it is still possible to utilize the space.
The ticket validator on the far right is a touch screen that is able to display messages in any of six or so languages.
As with pretty much all of the transit equipment at the show, the car is equipped with LCD screens that give the next several stations, and otherwise is a much more useful display than what is typically seen in the USA.
Tomorrow the outdoor displays are open to the public, and this is usually an extremely popular day. Visitor counts on Saturdays have been in the tens of thousands. Thus, this is my final article about Innotrans 2016, unless someone has special requests for more.
My hope is that you have enjoyed a little bit of a window into what is currently being built for other transit systems elsewhere.
Glenn Laubaugh (“Glenn in Portland”) is part of the engineering staff for a small company in Portland that builds electrical equipment for railroad passenger cars.