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Siemens bags streetcars contract in Orange County

A Siemens S70 streetcar in Atlanta, Georgia

Eight S70 streetcars will carry more than 7,300 passengers per day within the first year of operation

Siemens Mobility has been awarded a contract from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for eight streetcars. The contract includes spare parts and tools, and comes with the option to purchase up to 10 additional streetcars at a later date. Siemens will provide systems support and training to operators and maintenance technicians once the vehicles are delivered, expected early 2021.

“As cities are growing, so is the need for reliable public transportation,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rolling Stock in the US. “Our streetcars provide great transportation options for cities looking for expandable-use vehicles that can be upgraded to interact with today’s and – tomorrow’s – latest technology.”

The new OC Streetcars will be zero-emission and based on the flexible and proven Siemens S70 light rail vehicle platform that is being used in mass transit and regional services linking suburbs to cities, such as in Houston, Charlotte, San Diego, Portland and the Twin Cities. The S70 design has also provided reliable operation in inner-city areas such as Salt Lake City and Atlanta, which is utilising digital rail analytics as one of the “smartest” streetcar operations operating in the country today.

Siemens streetcars are playing an increasingly important role in helping regions address high-traffic congestion and bridge existing gaps in transportation. In the case of Orange County, they will sustainably link downtown areas with key business and government districts. The OC Streetcar will primarily serve Santa Ana’s central business district, which includes county and local government offices and courthouses in the Civic Centre. It will also connect with many OCTA bus routes and Metrolink regional/commuter rail.

As ridership needs grow, the streetcars can also be converted to meet any rising demand for light rail transit operation.

Unlike light rail transit systems that mainly run on tracks separated from the roads, streetcars run on rails set into the road surface and therefore share the road with private motor vehicles. Streetcars offer an attractive alternative to travelling by car or bus due to higher speeds, running parallel with road traffic and serving short local routes with frequent stops.

The double-articulated, bidirectional vehicles provide efficiency, and the fully accessible low-floor design enables passengers to board and exit comfortably without any obstructions. The zero-emissions streetcars are being built by more than 1,300 Siemens employees in Sacramento, California.

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