July 10, 2008
Portland's Next Streetcar
Manufacturing should be completed by the end of the year, and the car running on Portland's streets sometime in Q1 '09 after thorough testing.
July 9, 2008 10:53 PM
I'm glad to see the jigs: Once they build and test a few of these things, I expect that they can sell quite a few to both our streetcar line (and hopefully lineS in the near future,) and other cities as well. Compared to building automobiles, streetcars is a growth industry.
July 10, 2008 2:01 AM
John Russell Says:
So do these American-made streetcars look the same as the Czech-built ones?
July 10, 2008 7:47 AM
Chris Smith Says:
The OIW/Skoda joint venture is starting from a Skoda design, so the basic chassis will be similar to (and hopefully share many spare parts with) the first seven Portland cars built by the Inekon/Skoda partnership.
There will be external cosmetic differences, just as there are on the most recent three cars, built by the Inekoon/Ostrava partnership.
July 10, 2008 12:36 PM
This is fantastic that Portland could economically gain from the renewed interest in public transit! Are these streetcars going to be marketed to cities across the country? If so, will PDX-based companies have any inherent advantage to scoring contracts?
July 10, 2008 1:06 PM
I'd love to see trackless trolleys/electric trolley buses return to Portland and run on the major transit streets. I totally support Electric trolley buses in Portland, let help writing lot of letters to TRIMET in highest priority:
Hawthorne, NW 23rd, Belmont, MLK/Grand, Broadway, 82nd/Killingsworth, and Jackson Park to OHSU/VA HOSP, and What TRIMET selected route for Trolleybus/Electric BUS and maintains Streetcars and LRT. I know that Streetcar and Trolleybuses are effective service. I had been contacted with my senator, City of Portland, and TRIMET.
Didnt TriMet seriously consider trolley buses two seperate times in the mid 70s and then again in the early 80s? SMILE, let me know.
July 10, 2008 2:37 PM
Chris Smith Says:
Are these streetcars going to be marketed to cities across the country?
Around the world! I'm told there was already a bid on an order for Dubai :-)
If so, will PDX-based companies have any inherent advantage to scoring contracts?
There are already a number of local subcontractors.
July 10, 2008 4:40 PM
The Czech cars are better looking so far. ;)
July 10, 2008 8:30 PM
Aaron, I love the idea of other cities buying street cars from us. I was recently in Austin TX, and I hated hearing a local say, "Those are from the old streetcars, they'll be torn up soon," about the tracks in the road.
Please, Austin (and other cities!) think of build a streetcar through neighborhoods that support it.
I know Erik will jump on it, but I like the streetcar a lot more than a bus. If everything was a 2800 I might not care so much, but the streetcars seem more reliable to me. Also, the route is easier to remember, and to explain to tourists.
I know that streetcars cost more, but I have to admit my parents rave about the marginally-nice hotel they stayed at because of the proximity to the streetcar. Hell, just for that my Mom brags about Portland to (it sounds like) everyone she meets.
July 11, 2008 9:17 AM
"Are these streetcars going to be marketed to cities across the country?"
Any project that uses Federal money to build out has to comply with the "buy American first" provisions... that is why Blumenauer got this set up between Skoda and Oregon Iron. OI is now the only American street car manufacturer- so they will get all the future street car business.
July 11, 2008 9:23 AM
Tucson is pretty far along in the planning stages of building a streetcar system. Their renderings show a vehicle much like the Skoda-Inekon. The planned route appears to be like totally rad.
July 14, 2008 8:40 PM
Erik Halstead Says:
Dave wrote: I know Erik will jump on it, but I like the streetcar a lot more than a bus. If everything was a 2800 I might not care so much, but the streetcars seem more reliable to me. Also, the route is easier to remember, and to explain to tourists.
You've just described it - when you invest in quality transit, of course it's better.
If TriMet bought all brand new busses (the 2800s) - yes, it would be better.
I will agree that it is easier to follow a fixed rail guideway, than a bus that you are not sure which street it goes down, but that can be easily remedied. For example, I prefer to ride through the Metro Tunnel in Seattle because the stops are much easier to locate (despite being underground) than on a surface street. The Transit Mall in Portland can be scary for an out-of-towner, not knowing where the bus is going to go (does it go down the mall? Does it turn?) But if I'm standing at 4th and Harrison where busses and the Streetcar cross, I'll prefer a bus over Streetcar because the bus will be faster downtown (especially because of the insane cross-cross pattern the Streetcar has to make just to the northwest).
Streetcar has its place, just as busses have their place. I would rather see Portland investing in Streetcar as a logical replacement for bus routes (i.e. 12-Sandy is a good example that has been cited), instead of a new route that then (financially) competes with bus service. For routes that can't support a Streetcar, a Trolleybus then makes sense.
I have to admit my parents rave about the marginally-nice hotel they stayed at because of the proximity to the streetcar. Hell, just for that my Mom brags about Portland to (it sounds like) everyone she meets
But that hotel could have been built sans Streetcar. It was built because of tax incentives. I've stayed at plenty of nice hotels that weren't near any public transit, much less a Streetcar line. (And there are some rather scary hotels that are located near public transit, too.)
Some of Portland's finest hotels are located on Broadway, not on the Streetcar line...