In the first part, I only covered Europe and the USA. In the comments, Thor Heyerdahl covered Canada, and BruceMcF showed ones unknown even to me in Australia. So let's start in a significant region I left out: East Asia.
In Japan, the standard-gauge, large-cross-section Shinkansen high-speed lines are perfect for double-deck trains. Indeed JR East's series E1 and series E4 "Max" are full double-deck. But IMO they are rather ugly, so I will show something more interesting.
A double-deck "Green car" for JR East's series 211 EMUs temporarily inserted into an old series 113 EMU. Photo from TOMO-JRC
Something special to Japan is trains with part of the cars being double-deck "Green cars". Most Shinkansen types are such, but amazingly, so are some for the normal network. The latter is narrow-gauge (only 1067 mm wide tracks), with space for trains barely higher than 4 metres (requiring super-low-floors), and very busy. It's the latter why part-double-deck makes sense: one gets around the loading/unloading-time problem if longer-distance travellers concentrate in those cars. (Though, there is one full double-deck EMU: JR East's not too photogenic series 214/215.)
Examples of part-double-deck EMUs include Odakyu Express Railway's series 20000 "Resort Super Express", JR East's series 211, E217 and E231 commuter trains, JR Central's series 371 express train, JR Central's and JR West's beautiful series 285 for the "Sunrise Express" sleeper train, JR Shikoku's series 5000 end cars, and this strange animal:
JR East's series 251 "Super View Odokiro" express EMU. Photo from TOMO-JRC
As China has a large loading gauge and lots of passengers, double-deck trains are widespread there, too. From the early nineties, a number of types of double-deck coaches denoted with an S prefix were built. As for multiple units, the Chinese industry produced the series NZJ1, NZJ2, NZJ3 diesel multiple units (DMU). With nine cars between two streamlined tractor heads, and a top speed of 180 km/h, they are used for express service on shorter distances.
In express service between Beijing and Tianjin, NZJ2 001 races through Fengtai West, 15 April 2006. Photo by Y. Steenebruggen from Locosuisse.ch
Former British colony Hong Kong is still a world unto itself, railway-wise too. On the picture below, you see one of KCR's two trains for the Ktt service (Guangzhou = ex Canton to Kowloon through trains). The train is a global mix. The series TLS electric locomotive is European, identical to the Swiss Re460 (which mostly pull trains made up of double-deck IC2000 coaches). The series T1, T2 cars are Japanese, but from a product line supplied to the USA (compare the cross sections).
A KCR Ktt service, run by a TLS locomotive blue-end-ahead, near Fanling, Hong Kong, 23 October 2005. Photo by Joseph K.K. Lee from RailPictures.Net
In the first diary, I was unfair to France – which could be called the real homeland of double-deck trains! While that German factory in Görlitz is world's-first with some 6,500 cars produced, much of that went abroad or is no longer in service – and the well over four thousand double-deck cars (single or as part of EMUs) in operation in France is more than twice of what rolls in Germany. And while Görlitz may have the longest continuous production, French producers were first.
In the 1880s, Sunday picnic outside the city became extremely popular among inhabitants of Paris. Especially going to the guinguettes: taverns on riverbanks where one could eat or dance. To transport the people, railway companies Ouest and Est made so-called trains de plaisir (=pleasure trains), with double-deck cars (then called voiture à impériale) of system Vidard. It had open and closed versions. As the top level was rather crammed, and the open version had a certain characteristic look, their widely known nickname became Bidel, the then used word for animal cage.
A train with both closed (in front) and open (behind) Bidels in station Le Vésinet, line Paris-Saint-Lazare to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. from Le site ferroviaire de Roland Arzul
The Bidel wasn't the only, but the by far most successful of the early French models: from 1883 until 1925(!), about a thousand were made (one preserved at Mulhouse). Of the others, in a 1886 article, check out an oddity: a certain M. Estrade's bizarre double-deck car with giant wheels, intended for high-speed.
For 20h-century safety and comfort demands, Bidels were crap, though. But the quantum jump to cars with metallic chassis, bogies and low-floor lower level/higher-roofed top level was made three years before Görlitz came out with its first: with État's revolutionary voiture à étages in 1933. They too were a success: the 50 cars remained in service in the Paris suburbs into the early eighties.
But French industry produced the next double-deck cars for SNCF only from 1973. But then in masses: the VB2N and related VR2N, VO2N, V2N cars numbered 748. Most were for Paris's new RER service along tunnel-connected suburban lines.
SNCF BB8626 pulls VB2N double-deck cars next to Assat (near Pau, south-eastern France), taken there from Paris to transport pilgrims to Lourdes, 14 August 1983. Photo by Jean-Pierre Vergez-Larrouy from RailFanEurope.net
But the bulk of French double-deck cars only came from the eighties – as cars within EMUs. The Z2N (series Z5600, Z8800, Z20500, Z20900, Z92050) and the newer MI2N (series Z22500, + RATP-owned) were mostly for the RER again. The TER-2N (series Z23500) and the presently delivered TER-2Nng (series Z24500, Z26500) are for regional local and rapid service. And the TGV Duplex (series 700, one shown last time) and Réseau-Duplex (series 600) are for high-speed.
Two coupled TER-2N (series Z23500) two-car regional EMUs on the Anthéor bridge, between Cannes and St-Raphaël. Photo by Raphael_E
Finally, for two oddities, let's go back to Germany, to East Germany.
At the end of the fifties, chiefly for the "Sputnik" rapid trains running along the ring line circling West Berlin, the factory at Görlitz made 33 five-car trainsets with a unique solution (for standard railways). Instead of bogies shared by neighbouring cars (Jacob bogies), they had 'mini-cars' carrying the entrance decks, and the double-deck seat compartments were 'hanged' between them. A decade later they made another similar series.
Near Potsdam on Berlin's Outer Ring Railway, 1968: a "Sputnik" rapid train with an articulated double-deck trainset of series DGBe. Photo by Armin Krischok from Bahnbilder.de
The last train I show is not a product of Görlitz. A dozen years ago, two other East German factories collaborated in what was to revolutionize traffic on branchlines: double-deck rail buses. Alas, only seven of the series 670 "Alma" were built, as they had a truckload of technical problems. But perhaps because of their oddity factor, there was always an operator willing to struggle keeping at least one running.
Coming from Erfurt, DB 670 001 and 005 reached the neglected station of Bad Berka, 6 May 1998. Photo by Frank Strumberg from Rote-Brummer-Online
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