September 26, 2012

Argentina to buy 24 more SD MTS trolleys

Officials for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and the Argentinean City of Mendoza signed an agreement to finalize the sale of 24 additional San Diego Trolley U-2 model light rail transit vehicles for $5.1 million.

“The sale of these cars will mark the beginning of a new legacy for our trendsetting Blue Line Trolley operations,” said Chairman of the MTS board of directors Harry Mathis. “They have been the workhorse for one of our nation’s most successful light rail systems. Now these beautiful and durable cars, which have become icons of successful light rail systems, will live on, serving the transportation needs of the people in Mendoza, Argentina.”

MTS is more than halfway through a program to replace the U-2 cars with new low-floor vehicles, manufactured by Siemens in Sacramento, Calif. MTS is purchasing 65 of the new low-floor cars, which will operate on all trolley lines.

Mendoza has now purchased 35 cars from MTS for the new light rail line that connects five urban areas around the City of Mendoza.

An Argentinean delegation came to San Diego to sign the agreement and inspect the vehicles.

MTS will begin to ship the cars to Mendoza later this year. The cars are expected to go by truck to Houston, by boat to Santiago, Chile, and then by truck the remaining distance to Mendoza.

MTS began operating its new low-floor cars on the Green Line, which was extended earlier this month from Old Town to downtown. Low-floor cars will begin to operate on the Orange Line in early 2013 and on the Blue Line in mid-2014.

The purchase of the new railcars is part of $720 million project to improve stations from Old Town to the international border at San Ysidro and to improve track, switches, signaling, communication, overhead electric wire and freight capacity. It is funded by a combination of money from Transnet, State of California Propositions 1A and 1B, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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