January 10, 2013

San Diego transit launches trolley service

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) officials launched new low-floor trolley service on the MTS’s Orange Line, commemorating the completion of a $17 million renovation of Orange Line Stations. The ceremony was held at the Euclid Avenue Transit Center in San Diego.

“This is important because we are bringing a new and higher standard of service to the people along the Orange Line,” said MTS Chairman Harry Mathis. “New station amenities and low-floor cars will enhance the transit experience, making trips faster, more timely and more convenient and comfortable.”

The work is part of the $720 million Trolley Renewal project that is rebuilding all stations from Old Town to San Ysidro and from La Mesa to downtown San Diego. It also includes $271 million to purchase 65 new low-floor vehicles from Siemens, which is located in Sacramento.

The first segment of the Orange Line to Euclid Avenue was built in 1986.  Subsequent extensions to La Mesa and El Cajon were opened in 1989. The last leg to Santee was completed in 1995.

The Orange Line project included renovating nine stations, as well as train signaling and grade-crossings improvements. Station platforms have been resurfaced, new shelters installed and fiber optic communication systems added, including next-arrival electronic signs and surveillance cameras.

With work winding down on Orange Line stations, the Trolley Renewal project will move to Blue Line stations. Work is scheduled to begin in April of this year to totally rebuild Trolley stations and transit centers from downtown to the border.

Work will include renovating the trolley station platforms, improving bus facilities and the ease of transferring between bus and trolley services. Completion is scheduled for late 2014.

The overhead electrical wire for the Blue Line has already been replaced and work is underway to add cross-over tracks that will enhance operational flexibility in the future.

The Trolley Renewal project is funded by a combination of local TransNet sales tax, state bonds and federal dollars.

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