Friday, September 25, 2009

San Diego Trolley Awards Light Rail Cars Purchase

The Metropolitan Transit System board of directors voted unanimously to purchase 57 new low-floor light rail vehicles from Siemens Transportation Systems Inc.
The vehicles, which will be purchased for $205.2 million, will be manufactured in Sacramento. Delivery of the first vehicles is expected in late 2011.
The source of funding is Transnet II and California Proposition 1B bonds.
“This is a major purchase of new vehicles and allows MTS to bring the convenience of low-floor light rail vehicles to our entire system,” said Harry Mathis, MTS Chairman of the Board of Directors. “It also marks the beginning of rehabilitation project for our Blue and Orange lines to significantly enhance our operations and customer experience.”
The low-floor cars are 81 feet in length, which is nine feet shorter than the 11 S-70 low floor vehicles that MTS uses on the Green Line through Mission Valley between Old Town and Santee. The shorter configuration will allow the use of three-car trains on C Street in Downtown San Diego without blocking intersections.
The primary advantage of the low floor technology is that it allows level boarding for all customers, making ingress and egress much easier, safer and faster. In addition to the S-70s, MTS currently uses two other models of light rail vehicles that have steps for passengers or lifts for people using mobility devices. The new cars will feature seating for 60 people and position all of the seats to face the middle of the car to improve visibility for passengers and security personnel. All models are manufactured by Siemens.
MTS has negotiated with Siemens and the Utah Transit Authority to allow MTS to assume an option for a minimum of 57 and a maximum of 65 rail cars under UTA’s existing contract with Siemens.
The MTS board of directors also received a status report on the Blue Line and Orange Line rehabilitation project, a $234 million project to raise and improve station platforms, replace old rail and overhead electrical contact wire, and improve switching, signaling and crossovers. Work is scheduled to begin in early 2010 and be complete by the end of 2013.
In addition to Transnet II and Proposition 1B, funds for this portion of the project are from American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Federal stimulus) and from Federal Formula Funds.
The work is anticipated to create up to 350 jobs.
All 11 Blue Line stations along the 16-mile corridor from the Barrio Logan to Beyer Boulevard stations will receive complete makeovers. All other station platforms on the Blue Line and Orange Line (from downtown to La Mesa Boulevard) will be raised by two inches to accommodate the ramps on the low-floor vehicles.
The San Diego Association of Governments is Program Manager for both the light rail vehicle purchase and rail line improvements. SANDAG also administrates all funding for the projects and full funding for the trolley procurement is available.
MTS operates a 54.3-mile light rail transit network, 95 fixed bus routes, and ADA Complementary Public Paratransit Service in the San Diego region. In FY09 it set a system record by carrying more than 91 million passengers.
***//Little bit about MTS Trolley. Currently they have 3 Lines, Blue (San Ysidro/Mexico Border to Old Town), Orange Line (Imperial to El Cajon via Conv Center) and the new Green Line (Old Town to Santee via Misson Valley). The Green Line does NOT go into Downtown San Diego. The Blue Line used to cover Old Town to Mission San Diego, but the Green Line now covers that portion, The Blue Line is a timed transfer at Old Town tot he Green line. A "Red Line" will run for special events and serve specific stations only. Currently they have 11 S70 Siemens Low Floor Cars (Like TriMets Type 4), and 123 High Floor Siemens cars (U2 and SD100 models). They exclusively use the S70s on the Green line. San Diego has built their platforms to handle 3 car trains already. One thing that is very nice, all platforms are the same, there are platforms on both sides of the tracks, never in the center, and you are allowed to cross the tracks anywhere in the station. Also the Trolley does not open doors for you, the operator lights up the "Open" buttons, and only the doors being used are opened, saves A/C and Heating energy.
Info about the Trolley Fleet is here, About MTS Trolley INC and the system here, and info about the bus operations are here.

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