M-1 Rail Purchases 6 Battery-Powered Streetcars; Includes Wi-Fi, Bike Racks

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M-1 Rail, the non-profit organization leading the construction of the 3-mile streetcar system along Woodward Avenue in Detroit, today announced it will spend $32 million on six streetcars and support services from Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp.

“Brookville has had success building streetcars with similar operating systems and specifications to what we have planned for M-1 Rail, so we know exactly what we’re getting,” says Paul Childs, COO of M-1 Rail.

He says the three-piece cars will be 66 feet long and can carry about 125 passengers. They will travel at a maximum speed of 35 miles an hour and will stop for traffic lights. Walk-up fares are expected to be about $1.50, although passes and other fare options will be available. The vehicles will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and will feature Wi-Fi access, vertical bike racks, and heating and air conditioning.

Brookville also provided streetcars for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which has similar streetcar technology to what the M-1 Rail will have. The M-1 Rail will use off-wire technology and 60 percent of the line will operate on power provided by 750-volt rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, Childs says.

“Other streetcar projects utilize overhead wiring for everything from vehicle propulsion to the infrastructure of their maintenance and repair sites,” Childs says. “M-1 Rail will minimize its impact on the aesthetics of Detroit’s iconic Woodward Avenue, and the Penske Technical Center will not have the labyrinth of wires overhead that typify the maintenance and repair sites of other systems.”

The streetcars will be delivered  late  next year, with the service to be operational by 2017. The M-1 Rail will run along Woodward Avenue between Larned Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. 

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