The seven-mile line will be the first streetcar system in Ecuador. It will include 20 station; approximately 2.5 miles of line will cross the city’s historic center. Scheduled to open in 2015 , it will be able to carry up to 120,000 passengers per day.
Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To preserve its architectural heritage, the city chose Alstom’s catenary-free APS3 technology, which powers the vehicle through a third rail embedded in the ground between the running rails. The third rail is energized only when the vehicle is over it. Cuenca will be the first city in the Americas to obtain a catenary-free streetcar.
APS3 technology is already in service in several French cities—Bordeaux, Reims, Angers, and Orleans—and will soon be deployed in Tours, France, as well as Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Citadis streetcar for Cuenca is about 100 feet long and can accommodate around 300 passengers. Its 100% low-floor configuration and wide doors enable easy passenger access, especially for those with reduced mobility. Additionally, Citadis features large central aisles, allowing passengers to more-easily move around inside. Alstom has sold nearly 1,700 Citadis streetcars to 41 cities around the world.
The vehicles and infrastructure components will be produced at Alstom Transport sites in France (La Rochelle, Ornans, Vitrolles, Saint Ouen). The project is largely financed by the French Treasury through an ECR (Emerging Country Reserve) loan.
“This project and our Citadis will improve the urban mobility of Cuenca, home to about 500,000 inhabitants, with one of the cleanest, most efficient and most comfortable means of public transportation,” said Alstom Transport Senior Vice President Latin America Michel Boccaccio. “It is also an opportunity to show other Latin American countries that similar projects can be developed in their cities.”