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Vancouver [CA] - The first of 228 new trolleybuses

M. Schindler - 21.07.05

TransLink takes new trolley bus for a spin in Stanley Park

Manufacturers of TransLink’s new electric trolley fleet officially handed the prototype bus to TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Co. officials today. The pilot vehicle is the first of 228 state-of-the-art trolleys that will provide pollution-free, fully accessible transit to thousands of transit customers on Vancouver and Burnaby’s trolley routes.

The trolleys are being built by New Flyer Industries of Winnipeg and will be powered by an electric propulsion system made by Vossloh Kiepe of Germany. Representatives from both companies were on hand in Stanley Park today to officially turn over the new bus to TransLink Chairman Doug McCallum.

“Through the purchase of these new trolleys, TransLink is delivering on its promise to provide an effective, efficient and environmentally-sound transportation system for Greater Vancouver,” said McCallum, who joined other guests on a test drive in Vancouver’s West End. “We’re also carrying on a proud tradition of operating electric trolleys in Vancouver that goes back almost 60 years.”

Trolleys have been in use in Vancouver since 1948 and the existing fleet is the second largest in North America after San Francisco. Currently, the trolleys move an estimated 245,000 passengers every day on 13 routes, utilizing a 300-kilometre grid of overhead wires. While other cities abandoned their trolley systems over the last 50 years, Vancouver was wise enough to keep its system.

“These buses are quiet and emission-free, so they’re well suited to an urban environment,” said Denis Clements, president and CEO of Coast Mountain Bus Co. “In addition, the new trolleys will be low-floor buses, making it easy for our customers in wheelchairs and seniors to board the bus. The trolleys will also be bike-rack equipped, so cyclists are going to enjoy using them too.”

The 40-foot pilot vehicle will be used to gather operating data and fine-tune specifications before the new trolleys start to roll off the assembly line in Winnipeg next year.

“Our goal is to customize these vehicles to meet the unique needs of TransLink and its customers,” said Pablo Batista, Senior Program Manager for New Flyer Industries. “When we’re finished, these trolleys will be tailor-made for Vancouver transit operations.”

The contract for the new $273-million fleet represents one of the largest public transit vehicle purchases in North America. In total, 228 trolley buses will be delivered: 188 standard, 40-foot buses, and 40 articulated, 60-foot buses – the first articulated trolley buses to be operated in the Vancouver area.

The standard trolleys will begin arriving in August of 2006 and the articulated buses will go into service in mid-2008. Both types of buses will be housed in the new Vancouver Transit Centre, which opens in 2006.

One of the most interesting features of the new trolleys is their modern, AC traction power system – reliable technology similar to the propulsion systems used in light-rail rapid transit vehicles and hundreds of trolley buses all over the world.

“This will enable the trolley buses to accelerate exceptionally well even on hills and with heavy passenger loads, which is ideal for Vancouver driving,” said Klaus Peter Canavan, Project Manager for Vossloh Kiepe.

The new trolleys will replace the current fleet of trolley buses that have been in service for more than 20 years. Thanks to the new trolleys, customers will be able to enjoy more reliable service, especially in winter conditions. New technology for the trolley poles, for example, will make it less common for the poles to detach from the overhead wires.

The buses will also sport stylish ergonomic seating, sophisticated on-board electronics to increase the safety of operations, and graffiti-reducing features, such as a special lining on the windows and stainless-steel frame seats.

Ken Hardie
Director of Communication


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