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Santee Station One of First to See New Trolley Car Design

Not a fan of walking up the stairs to get on the trolley? That problem is solved with a new car design that’s taking affect soon.

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) unveiled new cars for its trolley system on Thursday that feature a more accessible low-floor design, and the Santee station will be one of the first to see them pass through.

The first two of the new cars are set to begin service on the Green Line on Oct. 3, leaving from the Old Town to Santee stations at 5 a.m. for their first run.

“The new low-floor cars usher in a new era of accessibility for the trolley system,” Harry Mathis, chairman of the MTS board, said. "These cars have nearly level boarding ramps, eliminating the need for stairs and wheelchair lifts. They will enable speedier boarding and quicker trips for our passengers."

The Green Line, which Santee is on, is ready to accept the new cars without any modifications, but the Orange and Blue lines (which service Downtown, South County and East County) will require some construction, that will likely impact trolley service on those lines, in order to fit the new design. Because of the construction needs, the new cars may not be on all lines until 2014.

MTS expects a total of 57 low-floor cars, six of which they’ve received so far. The total cost for the new fleet: $233 million.

The new cars have the same capacity as the current cars, but are shorter, allowing for less obstruction to pedestrians.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Peter Anderson September 30, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Actually low level cars have been used on the Green Line for a couple years now. These latest cars are the 2nd generation and being bought in quantity so they can be used on the Blue and Orange lines once renovations are complete. They are easier to board but I believe they hold fewer passengers than the older style
safesantee October 02, 2011 at 02:18 AM
Yes peter they do have a lower capacity then the 1st gen low floors but still hold as many as the old trolleys. The thing is, that the 1st gens were to long, when they did the carriages in three a row like they normally do they would stick out into the intersections in downtown so the 1st gens only run on the green line for they dont run into that problem and the older trolleys cant makes it up the grade between mission san diego and sdsu. The plan now is to get rid of all the older models and have mainly Siemens S70 2nd gens and keeping the few S70 1st gens they have.

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