ON May 10 the TriMet board approved a $75m contract with Siemens Transportation Systems for 21 S70 Avanto light rail vehicles, with an option for another three.

Intended to operate the Interstate 205 and Portland Mall extensions of the MAX light rail network that are scheduled to open in September 2009, the 29·4m long S70s will be manufactured in Sacramento for delivery in 2008. The 70% low-floor, three-section cars will each have 76 seats, 10 more than the 79 low-floor Siemens SD660s in the existing fleet.

Unlike the S70s for Houston, San Diego and Charlotte, the Portland cars will be single-ended, with extra seats in place of the second cab. They are intended to run in semi-permanent coupled pairs. IGBT traction controls will be fitted, and four AC motors per car will give a top speed of 88 km/h. n