Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Alstom's Citadis makes APTA splash

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Alstom ceremonially debuted its Citadis Spirit light rail transit product Tuesday, June 4, 2013, to the North American market at the 2013 American Public Transportation Association Rail Conference in Philadelphia.

Though Alstom's Citadis product line already is well established elsewhere, Alstom noted that "with over 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada planning new light rail or streetcar systems, the vehicle includes unique features to satisfy the transit needs and support the economic development goals of North American cities."

Among items touted by the company: a 100% low-floor design and the ability to operate at speeds of up to 65 mph. "Hence, the Citadis Spirit is versatile and can provide both a streetcar service in mixed traffic as well as a commuter service on dedicated infrastructure," Alstom said.

Keeping pace with other suppliers mixing and matching elements to meet the needs of either full-blown light rail transit (LRT) or streetcar, Alstom said its Citadis product is "modular in length and can be expanded as a city's transportation needs grow over time. Additionally, the Citadis Spirit can be paired with one of Alstom's proven off-wire power supply systems to preserve historic cityscapes and minimize impacts on the environment."

Alstom officials told Railway Age Citadis off-wire power could be supplied in one of three ways, depending on local preference and/or need. Last January Alstom and Williams Hybrid Power announced an agreement to apply Williams Hybrid Power's energy storage technology to Alstom's Citadis light rail transit (LRT) vehicles by 2014.

Alstom already has one North American order for Citadis in hand, with Ottawa tapping the company last February for 34 Citadis vehicles — alternately identified as either LRT or streetcar, depending on the source — for use on the Ottawa's Confederation Line, now under initial construction.

An unspecified portion of Ottawa's Citadis production will take place at Alstom's nearby Hornell, N.Y., facility, with Alstom Signaling, Inc.'s Henrietta, N.Y. plant also participating. But Alstom Monday emphasized, "Citadis Spirit will be manufactured in North America as of 2015. Its design and manufacturing process are very modular and flexible, allowing final assembly to be localized close to end-users and municipalities."