GANGWAY design is changing as rolling stock manufacturers increasingly adopt modular vehicle construction methods. Commonality of components between different vehicle models is becoming standard practice in the industry, bringing a need for the clear division of responsibility between gangway subcontractor and the final assembler of the vehicle.

Traditionally, manufacturers have incorporated carriage end doors into the car body, with third-party gangways then attached to the vehicle ends. However, the gangway bridge plates need to reach into the vehicle body, and this creates a complex interface between components sourced from different suppliers.

This approach is changing, according to gangway producer Ultimate which has offices in Austria, the UK, Australia and China. There is a move towards subcontractors combining gangways and interior doors into a single unit, which is supplied to the assembler as a complete module for mounting on carriage ends. This approach clearly divides responsibilities for the different equipment, and simplifies the interfaces between technologies.

Ultimate’s modules comprise one or two doors and the gangway, linked by bellows. The self-centring tread and bridge plates eliminate gapping in severe track conditions.

Woodville Polymer Engineering has invested in computer systems to model the three-dimensional movement of its gangways. The single-skin gangways the company has supplied to Rotem for Athens metro cars are 40%lighter than double-skin designs. They offer 47 min of fire resistance, which was also a critical factor in the choice of gangways being supplied to Alstom for refurbishment of Docklands Light Railway cars.

Japanese supplier Narita is currently developing a gangway with new interior panels, for launch next year. Recent orders won by the company include gangways and doors for JR-Central’s Series 700 and JR-Kyushu’s Series 800 Shinkansen trainsets (p626). Narita has also supplied gangways for Series 8000 rubber-tyred metro cars in the Japanese city of Sapporo, Guangzhou Metro line 2 trains, Melbourne’s Bayside Trains EMUs, coaches for Metra in Chicago, and Tokyo Rapid Transit Authority’s Series 01 metro trains.

Many metro and urban vehicles now have gangways that extend nearly to the full width of the car, maximising passenger capacity and providing a better sense of security. Hübner produces a range of complete gangway units, including models for use on articulated tramcars. Urban railways demand materials which are resistant to vandalism and easily cleaned, and the firm has supplied gangways with bellows inner coverings to Bangkok, Wien and Berlin.

CAPTION: Narita’s interior panels are designed to reduce the visual intrusion of wide gangways used on high-density stock