Many media outlets are reporting this morning that Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCR) is seriously considering purchasing double decker rail cars for its Hudson and Harlem commuter lines, which terminate at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.
One interesting aspect of this idea is that MNCR’s Park Avenue tunnel, which leads to Grand Central Terminal, has more restrictive clearances than even the Hudson (North) and East River tunnels used by NJ Transit and LIRR’s multilevel/bilevel cars.
While multilevel trains are typically taller than regular trains, officials in the region have found ways to deal with the narrow clearance of underwater and underground tunnels that provide access into Manhattan. At New Jersey Transit, the bilevel cars feature a sharply beveled roof, which curves at a roughly 45-degree angle to ensure the trains do not scrape against walls.
Metro-North engineers believe their trains would require an even steeper bevel to avoid the walls of the Park Avenue tunnel. And low-hanging wires and underground protrusions might have to be trimmed back.
Other problems/issues to be considered/resolved may or may not include gapping-out when crossing the switches at Grand Central Terminal, HEP ratings, and locomotive availability. However, as usual, some of these issues, as reported by the media, are either much more or much less complicated than they are making them out to be.
Read here what some railfans and railroad employees have to say about all this.