METRORail Family Announces The Arrival Of The First Member Of Its 2nd Siemens Fleet
October 15, 2012
Unit 201 will roll into service as the first of a new generation of Houston light-rail cars dubbed H2’s. METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia and President and CEO George Greanias joined staff at the Rail Operations Center at 1601 W. Bellfort today to unveil the 85-foot addition to its light-rail family.
Garcia said “The new light-rail-vehicle (LRV) is not just a rail car. It represents a savings of nearly a year’s time in getting optimal service to rail passengers. These units will help us offer more timely and comfortable trips.”
Greanias added, “METRORail has a very busy fleet which this year surpassed 90 million boardings. The new units will take the strain off those already in service and provide more flexibility on our current system.”
Nineteen of the H2’s will join the current 18-member, nine-year-old METRORail LRVs over the next year and a half. The new units are similar to their older S70 siblings … with a little updating. The S70 LRV is electrically powered from an overhead wire (catenary) system and, fully loaded, carries about 200 passengers per car. The units can be coupled - up to four together – for more efficient service during peak times.
Each new S70 unit is equipped with eight wide-opening, sliding doors all located in the low floor area, four on each side of the vehicle. The door spacing is optimal for passenger flow - the time necessary to enter and exit the vehicle - which can cause delays in the schedule. The design of the interior maximizes passenger space, using a knee-to-back seating arrangement and a large standing area with extra hand straps and grab bars for passenger safety.
In addition to the amplified passenger space and wide doorways the updated S70 is also equipped with two designated wheelchair spaces, allowing priority seating for disabled passengers as well as a hydraulic system that permits height control and level boarding.
METRORail is also responding to requests from cyclists by outfitting each new H2 S70 with two bicycle racks, located at front and rear doorways, which may make travel safer during hours when bikes are permitted on board.
The delivery is part of an $83 million contract awarded to Siemens Industry, Inc. for 19 new S70 light-rail vehicles along with spare parts, training and manuals. The vehicles are manufactured at Siemens’ rail vehicle manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. Besides operating more than 1,200 buses, METRO is currently expanding its 7.5-mile light-rail line (Red Line), with three new lines under construction. METRO’s services also include: Star Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride and road improvement projects.