As the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) gets set to roll out the next generation of light rail vehicles (LRVs) for service on the UC San Diego Blue Line on April 20, MTS officials recently unveiled the first car of the new LRV series during a “Trolley Open House.”
The new LRVs will enter service as part of the 5000 Series vehicles from Siemens, representing the “third generation of modern, low-floor vehicles that have been in operation on MTS’ light rail network since 2005.”
MTS said the 45 new S700 LRVs have the same low-floor characteristics as newer models in MTS’ current fleet, but feature a redesigned middle section to improve passenger flow and provide door-to-door accessibility for riders in wheelchairs or other mobility devices. To facilitate cleaning and maintenance, train seats are upholstered in vinyl rather than the cloth used in previous models. Additional features include improved interior sightlines for added security and relocated operational equipment to facilitate easier access by maintenance technicians.
For the past seven months, MTS has been receiving new Siemens S700s cars via an order of 45 vehicles placed in 2016—the first of which was delivered last August and came in the San Diego Trolley’s “iconic red paint scheme.”
MTS said that in addition to putting the vehicles into service now, it will use the new vehicles to increase service on the UC San Diego Blue and Orange lines beginning June 9.
“It’s important for our transit system to be accessible to everyone, especially members of our disability community,” said Georgette Gómez, San Diego City Council President and MTS Board Chair. “These new Trolleys are an example of how MTS continues make improvements to help all of our passengers access the system better.”
“These next-generation vehicles represent the true partnership that exists between MTS and Siemens,” said Paul Jablonski, CEO, MTS. “We worked closely over the last three years to ensure that these vehicles meet the needs of our system and our riders.”