Streetcar Testing to Begin
The Siemens S70 streetcars bought by Atlanta for its 2.7-mile downtown urban circulator line linking Centennial Olympic Park and the Martin Luther King, Jr. tourism site will begin operational testing soon, the AtlantaInTownPaper.com site reported on April 28. Construction of track is complete and installation of the Overhead Contact System [OCS] trolley wire currently is underway. The S70 cars will begin clearance and then nighttime tests when all cars are delivered in May. Two are in Atlanta and Siemens will be shipping two more from its Sacramento, CA factory.
System Operator Selected
The city of Atlanta has chosen an operator for its modern streetcar line: the city government with help from Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority [MARTA],. WABE public radio reports. Operating costs are expected to be $3.9 million annually.
Tim Borchers, the city’s Streetcar manager, and member of the APTA Streetcar Committee, is excited the city and MARTA will be working together initially. “The city will be providing the majority of staff with MARTA oversight for the first 12 months. I think this is the best outcome for fiscal responsibility and safe operations that can be had,” he said.
Borchers said having the city handle day-to-day operations – while MARTA acts in an oversight capacity - will save $5 million over five years. The key cost difference is that the city already has liability insurance coverage but either MARTA or a private contractor would have had to purchase expensive liability policies. Longer term MARTA would like to play a larger role as the streetcar system expands.
According to Borchers, the earliest start date for streetcar service is August.