The basic idea behind double-decker coaches (also called gallery cars) is the ability to offer more passengers a seat on the same length of train on the track by using the same area of the vehicle on two stacked levels.
The crucial requirement for this is a clearance gauge that leaves sufficient space for the two-level vehicle design. One of the most frequently used gauges is the EBO G2 gauge or the comparable UIC-C gauge. A height of up to 4650 mm above the top of the rails is available here, permitting a generous amount of space in the passenger compartment. Such gauges are very common in Eastern and Central Europe. HEROS offers double-decker coaches only for the EBO G2 or comparable gauges.
There are also double-decker coaches for the UIC505-1 gauge with a height of up to 4280 mm above the top of the rails. This height limitation considerably reduces the height of the passenger compartment in comparison to single-level vehicles. Vehicles that are tailored to this height are frequently very specially developed for a certain purpose. The vehicles are often unsuitable for other purposes, or they do not have the corresponding space available for the clearance gauge.
On the one hand, double-decker coaches have the advantage of offering more seating than many single-level vehicles, but have the disadvantage of offering fewer comfortable standing places on the other. For this reason, these coaches are often deployed when platform lengths are limited and many passengers are to be offered seats. These vehicles are particularly well-suited for passenger transport with high passenger volumes, such as between major cities or in commuter traffic. Comparable to the train configurations in conventional passenger transport, block trains consisting of a driving trailer and one or more middle coaches along with a locomotive are also deployed with double-decker coaches. In this way, the same effects can be achieved in push-pull operation with an increased number of seats for travellers.
The double-decker coach is boarded via the access area on the lower level or at the end of the car. The two levels are connected via compact staircases. On the upper level of the double-decker coach, travellers have the feeling that the noise level is greatly reduced. There is rarely a draught, even when the boarding doors are open. For this reason, travelling on the upper level can be very pleasant. In the double-decker coaches from HEROS, the upper level also offers large windows along with a pleasantly bright interior, which also helps the passenger’s comfort to be regarded as positive. In addition to the seating area, the lower level often has a multifunctional area in which bulky luggage, bicycles, prams, etc. can be taken along on trips.
The double-decker coaches from HEROS also have wide boarding doors and large vestibules or boarding areas that enable the exchange of passengers at stops to take place quickly, even when some of the passengers are leaving from the upper level.