Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First Siemens “H2” LRV debuts in Houston

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Siemens Mobility light rail car #201 is slated to enter revenue service Tuesday for Houston MetroRail, after a ceremony was held Monday at MetroRail's Rail Operations center.

Metro Board Chairman Gilbert 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."

Metro President and CEO George Greanias said, "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."

Siemens was awarded an $83 million contract to supply 19 S 70 light rail vehicles, dubbed H2s by MetroRail, which will supplement MetroRail's existing fleet of 18 LRVs already in operation, also built by Siemens. All 19 new cars are expected in operation within the next 18 months, to handle anticipated rising ridership and cope with the expansion of the city's LRT network, now under way.

Each new H2 carries about 200 passengers per car, and can be coupled to form LRT trains of up to four units, to handle potential peak-period demand, MetroRail says. The H2 cars include two bicycle racks as well to accommodate cyclists using LRT during permitted hours.