US streetcars delivered
TWO EXTRA low-floor trams for the successful Portland Streetcar line arrived at the port of Vancouver, Washington, on July 3; they are due to enter service next month. The first five Czech-built Astra 10T trams are carrying an average of 4500 passengers a day, and the city expected that the line would have carried 1·3 million people by its first anniversary on July 20.
The extra cars from Skoda Inekon will provide capacity for the 1·3 km extension to RiverPlace. Portland City Council has approved the start of planning, and officials hope to have finance for the $18·2m extension in place by next March, allowing the line to be completed in September 2004. A southern extension to the North Macadam District is also envisaged, followed by a link to Lake Oswego using an existing line.
Under test at Skoda last month (above) were three similar Astra cars which are expected to be delivered shortly to the Sound Transit 'Link' line in Tacoma (RG 4.01 p224). Similar to the Portland vehicles, these have been delayed by six months by the need to fit Siemens Integra ZSI-E automatic train stop equipment to protect the line's flat crossing with BNSF.
- Portland's light rail operator Tri-Met is to buy another 10 SD660 LRVs from Siemens to expand capacity on its east-west line. The AC-motored cars with a 70% low-floor section would be ordered as an add-on to the 17-car contract placed in October 2000, enabling delivery to begin in mid-2004.