Jul 11, 2023 - Transit

Red Line RTA rail cars purchased at last

A light rail vehicle with Cleveland's Tower City in the background

What the new train cars will look like. Rendering: Courtesy of RTA

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has at long last purchased rail cars to replace its aging Red Line fleet.

Driving the news: RTA has ordered 24 light rail vehicles (LRVs) from the German manufacturer Siemens Mobility, with expected delivery within four years, which RTA told Axios is a standard timeframe.

  • The purchase agreement includes an option for as many as 36 additional vehicles to replace the Blue and Green Line rail cars.
  • The Red Line's fleet is being upgraded first, due to its increased ridership.

Catch up quick: In April, RTA selected Siemens Mobility to design and build its new fleet, but the funding for the $164 million contract was not yet secured.

Threat level: RTA's Red Line and Blue/Green Line fleets are 39 and 42 years old, respectively, past the intended lifespan of transit vehicles.

Between the lines: The Siemens vehicles feature two door heights to accommodate both high and low-level platforms, meaning the same cars can operate on both the Red Line and the Blue and Green Line tracks.

What they're saying: "These new LRVs are catalytic for the health and economics of Greater Cleveland," RTA general manager and CEO India Birdsong Terry said in a press release.

  • "They will promote increased ridership and encourage transit-oriented development along the Red Line communities from East Cleveland to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport."

Meanwhile, normal rapid service returned to the Red, Blue and Green Lines on Monday from Tower City to East 55th, after a month of shuttle bus replacement service.

  • Yes, but: On Saturday and Sunday, Red Line service east of Tower City will be replaced with shuttle buses due to bridge repairs at East 75th Street over the Red Line.

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