Atlanta Streetcar Makes Virtual Debut

According to the a Siemens press release, the company will provide Atlanta with 4 streetcars at a cost of $17.2 million.  Also this…

The first car is expected to be delivered in September 2012 with revenue service beginning in early 2013. These will be the first streetcars in Atlanta since 1949 and will mark Siemens entry into the streetcar market in the United States.

…The four new streetcars are based on the proven Siemens S70 light rail vehicle platform, which was designed in the United States and is in operation in cities such as Houston, Charlotte, San Diego, Portland and Salt Lake City. The streetcars were purchased through an existing contract with the Utah Transit Authority and will be customized to meet Atlanta’s operating environment. The streetcars are fully upgradeable for future light rail operation as the regional system grows.

h/t: Atlanta Business Chronicle

12 thoughts on “Atlanta Streetcar Makes Virtual Debut”


  1. Shiny! And is it just me, or do the headlights combined with the horizontal seam create the cutest transit face?

  2. Are these the street cars to run between Centennial Park and Sweet Auburn?

    BTW, I thought the same thing about the face. Cute!

  3. Hmm, $17,2 million for 4 street cars. Does this also include the cost of the street car infrastructure,(tracks, wires, restriping the roadways @ $30,000 for 300 ft as for the bike lanes on Trinity, transit shelters, spare parts, etc.)?

    Anybody know how many busses could one buy for the same cost that use the roadways that we already have?

    Or even better, since the street cars presumably have more seats than busses, is there a cost per seat comparison out there?

    $4.3 million per train (albeit cute with magic invisible overhead wires) seems steep.

    1. Yeah, it’s funny to think that our unelected officials on Peachtree could have doctored some low floor, alt fuel buses to hide the tires, governed their speed to 19 mph, and had them in service yesterday.

      But there’s nothing funny about the parallels with the creation of MARTA.

  4. Or over 18,285 of these cool electric bikes.

    [img]http://www.metaefficient.com/images/mantra_electric_bike_motorcycle.jpg[/img]

  5. Where does one find one of these “cool electric bikes?” Who makes them? Happy Friday!

    1. There’s still a chance to advocate for a line along Clairmont Rd-Clairemont Ave, but it involves showing up in much larger numbers than a handful of homeowners in opposition.

  6. Where to start…. First, I wish they had gone with Czech Republic trams, not Siemen’s. I’ve ridden Siemen’s in Europe and Portland, and the seating system is hodge-podge, not straight forward. I like to ride looking forward towards where I’m going, not backwards. I don’t think it’s a healthy way to travel either. Also, all this concern that the overhead wire be “invisible”: What’s that all about? Of all the wires we walk under the one wire that gives us clean public transport is the one that comes under attack. I find them beautiful for the very reason that they represent concern for the environment, being non-polluting. Thus they represent common sense in going rail over bus. Now, there is no clean alternative fuel for bus, because “natural gas” comes from fracking… which means that calling something “natural” means zilch. Getting it is destructive to the environment, especially the water supplies. Those who say a fleet of buses could be up and running in a week for a lesser price are not considering the lifetime of a bus compared to a streetcar. There are streetcars still plying eastern European streets that were built 50 years ago. That’s 7 times longer lifetime than a bus. And, cities, Honolulu for one, that have chosen “bus rapid transit” over rail due to pressure and lies from the bus lobby and those demanding “immediate cheap” over “long term rail”, having realized they have wasted their money on said bus as the choice, have then had to replace and go for the rail after all. Personally, I would prefer to see the “Sweet Auburn” streetcar (and THAT should be the name on the destination sign) done like the new cars built for New Orleans that run Canal st. They are brand new, with a/c, but with the heritage look. And they are, smartly, painted in a bright livery that not only looks good, but is safer. A bright color livery will attract the attention of auto driver’s, especially important for introduction of streetcars back on the streets after such a long absence where most Atlanta drivers will have to give them the right of way. To me, a real streetcar is one that has a bounce. But, alas, that’s too much fun for today’s modern citizen who wants invisible wires, no bounce, so sensation. So, I can settle for what’s depicted in the photo shown, even though it’s a photo from Siemen’s file and the livery shown is just for display. Making a livery mistake, such as did Houston when it went for the sleek “silver” livery, could bring the high collision count that plagued Houston. On a rainy, cloudy gray day, the streetcars were barely visible. One other thing: Only 4? If the intervals are not close, the ridership will suffer. OK, I’m about to wrap up my mouthful. I’m happy to see streetcars coming back to Atlanta. I would be even happier if people who really were familiar with the different operational options on street rail were the ones making the decisions, and not uninformed, ga-ga eyed politicians who may not ask the right questions and thus spend too much on unnecessary and extravagant streetscapes and elaborate stops.

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