From M-1 Rail:
M-1 RAIL announced it has 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, chief operating officer 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-percent 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 said that the Buy America provisions ensure that U.S.-based transportation infrastructure projects are built with American-made products. “We want to assure that materials, parts, labor, manufacturing processes, and final assembly will meet the Buy America requirements.” Childs said that the M-1 team will announce a final assembly location in the future, but added that several locations in Southeast Michigan are under consideration. “It’s too early to talk about any sourcing or potential manufacturing locations, but we are committed to the principles of Buy America’s support of U.S.-based suppliers and the families who work for them.”
M-1 RAIL’s streetcars also will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 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. They will be powered by lithium-ion battery packs, enabling the entire line to run “60 percent off-wire,” said Childs. “Other streetcar projects utilize overhead wiring for everything from vehicle propulsion to the infrastructure of their maintenance and repair sites. M-1 RAIL will minimize its impact on the aesthetics of Detroit’s iconic Woodward Avenue, and we also will not have the labyrinth of wires overhead at the Penske Technical Center,” he said. The ‘off-wire’ technology also enhances safety and enables faster maintenance and repair due to safe, but simpler, procedures for technicians.
Other design-build aspects include: regenerative braking that adds to the efficiency of the line; ability to travel in the same lane at the same speed as bus and vehicle traffic; 100% low-floor, eliminating multi-level trip hazards on-board; and doors in three locations on each car to efficiently manage access and egress.
Childs said the negotiations with Inekon, coming on the heels of the recently-announced contract for the Penske Technical Center, will complete the design, engineering and construction requirements for the M-1 RAIL project. “Among our next significant activities will be to develop requirements and solicit proposals for the system operator, which will eventually run the entire line.”
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.
“Among our next significant activities will be to develop requirements and solicit proposals for the system operator, which will eventually run the entire line,” Childs said.