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Portland - July 2011

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Portland — Streetcar Expansion Delayed

Rail Transit Online, July 2011

The $148.3-million, 3.3-mi. (5.3 km) eastside streetcar line will open on Sept. 21, 2012, five months behind schedule and with one less car, because of rolling stock production problems which in turn have raised costs.

United Streetcar, based in the Portland suburb of Clackamas, was awarded a $20-million contract last August to deliver six cars based on a design from Skoda in the Czech Republic but containing approximately 70 percent American-made components. Skoda was tapped to provide the propulsion system, including the traction motors, but Portland officials have since found the equipment to be unsatisfactory. Development of a U.S.-made propulsion package is still incomplete so city officials requested that United turn to Elin, an Austrian company which makes a proven system. But that added nearly $2.9 million to the budget, a shortfall that was filled by cutting the order from six streetcars to five.

The sixth unit may be acquired in 2015 for $3.5 million if funding becomes available. City transportation spokesman Dan Anderson said glitches are to be expected because United Streetcar is pioneering something new. "To reintroduce this industry to the United States, I think ... it was never expected that this would be a perfect process," he told The Oregonian.

The eastside loop, currently under construction, connects with the existing line at 10th Street and Lovejoy in the Pearl District, runs across the Willamette River into Northeast Portland, then south to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.


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