Photo IDs: (From Left to Right) Mike Wygant, Chief Operating Officer, MTS Bus; Kim Kawada, Chief Deputy Executive Director, SANDAG; Brian Riley, Superintendent of Transportation, MTS Rail; Wayne Terry, Chief Operating Officer, MTS Rail; Paul Jablonski, Chief Executive Officer, MTS; Georgette Gómez, City of San Diego Council President and Board of Directors Chair, MTS; Mona Rios, Vice Chair, MTS; Robyn Stimson, Vice President of Business Development, Siemens; Chuck Bell, Project Manager, Siemens; Nick Balfour, Engineering Project Manager, Siemens; Andy Goddard Jr., Superintendent of LRV Maintenance, MTS Rail; Ed Graham, Assistant Superintendent of Transportation, MTS Rail.
April 18, 2019 (San Diego) - As the next generation of trolley cars gears up to begin service on the UC San Diego Blue Line this Saturday, officials with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) unveiled to the public the first vehicle of the new trolley series as part of a ‘Trolley Open House’ on Wednesday. The new trolley cars will enter service as part of the 5000 vehicles series, representing the third generation of modern, low-floor vehicles, which have been in operation on MTS’ light rail network since 2005.
For the past seven months, MTS has been steadily receiving new Siemens S700 trolley cars as part of an order of 45 vehicles placed in 2016. The first trolley car was delivered last August, in the iconic red paint scheme of the San Diego Trolley, with the remaining vehicles expected to be delivered over the next 2 years.
The 45 new S700 light rail vehicles (LRVs) have the same low-floor characteristics as newer models in MTS’ current fleet, but feature a redesigned middle section to improve passenger flow and provide door-to-door accessibility for riders in wheelchairs or other mobility devices. To facilitate cleaning and maintenance, train seats will be upholstered standard in vinyl rather than the cloth used in previous models. Additional features include improved interior sightlines for added security and relocated operational equipment to facilitate easier access by maintenance technicians.
“It's important for our transit system to be accessible to everyone, especially members of our disability community,” said Georgette Gómez, San Diego City Council President and MTS Board Chair. “These new Trolleys are an example of how MTS continues make improvements to help all of our passengers access the system better.”
Siemens, who has provided MTS with its light rail vehicles since the initial launch of the San Diego Trolley in 1981, manufactured the new vehicles. “These next-generation vehicles represent the true partnership that exists between MTS and Siemens”, said Paul Jablonski, MTS Chief Executive Officer. “We worked closely over the last three years to ensure that these vehicles meet the needs of our system and our riders.” In addition to putting the vehicles into service now, MTS will use the new vehicles to increase service on the UC San Diego Blue and Orange lines beginning June 9.
The vehicles were delivered from the Siemens rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, Calif. and bring the total number of LRVs supplied to MTS to 244, making MTS the largest U.S. light rail customer for Siemens. “Siemens is proud to continue our 38-year relationship with MTS with the delivery of these state-of-the-art light rail vehicles for San Diego,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rolling Stock in the U.S. “These California-built vehicles will help continue MTS’ legacy of outstanding service to its riders and help accommodate riders on their growing rail system.” Siemens is currently the leading supplier of light rail vehicles in North America.
MTS operates 95 bus routes and three trolley lines on 53 miles of double-tracked railway. Every weekday 300,000 passenger trips are taken on MTS bus and trolley services in 10 cities and unincorporated areas of the county. In FY 2018, MTS served nearly 86 million riders. For more information on how you can use public transportation and save money, go to www.sdmts.com.