Detroit's M-1 taps Czech supplier for streetcars

Posted on November 5, 2014

Detroit’s M-1 RAIL selected a vendor and will begin negotiations for the design and build of the individual streetcars, which will run along the Woodward Avenue route beginning in 2016.

The value of the contract is expected to be approximately $30 million for six separate custom coaches that will feature both regulatory compliance and customer comfort.

“M-1 RAIL will negotiate the final terms and conditions with Inekon Group to build our streetcars,” said Paul Childs, COO of M-1 RAIL. “Inekon has a strong track record with other streetcar projects in Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., and owns a 40% share of U.S.-installed projects. While Inekon is headquartered in the Czech Republic, our requirements specify that it will be compliant with the U.S. Government’s “Buy America” initiative.”

Childs added the M-1 team will announce a final assembly location in the future, but added that several locations in Southeast Michigan are under consideration.

M-1 RAIL’s streetcars also will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing for station-level access for pedestrians, and persons who use mobility assist devices such as wheelchairs.

Vertical bicycle racks will be included in the design to accommodate Detroit’s burgeoning bicycle community, as well as wireless access for busy passengers and HVAC systems to facilitate the swings in Michigan’s weather.

Each streetcar will be 73 feet long, 8.5 feet wide and 13 feet high, with a vehicle weight of approximately 76,000 pounds. The cars will be operator-driven, with a double-ended, double-sided configuration.

Childs said the final design of the streetcars, as well as future contracts with U.S.-based or Michigan suppliers will be announced later as the project proceeds. M-1 RAIL expects to be operational in 2016.

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