Seattle [US] - Tender for test vehicles with options for more
K. Budach - 13.02.12
Following the decision in Seattle, Washington State, U.S.A. in favour of retention of the trolleybus system (see the report of 22 August 2011), an invitation to tender has now been published calling for one or two prototypes with options for up to two hundred more vehicles. The pilot vehicles should be delivered within 12 months of the award of the contract. In addition to operating under the existing overhead system, the vehicles should also have the capability of a range of 30 miles off-wire. The energy storage system should be rechargeable both from the overhead and also from special outdoor charging points. It is planned to operate the trolleybuses not only on the existing trolleybus network but also on express lines running to the suburbs.
The vehicles will replace the existing fleet, which consists of 100 Gillig/GE/Alstom two axle trolleybuses and 55 Breda articulated trolleybuses. The standard 40ft trolleybuses were built in 2002 reusing the electrical components from previous AMG trolleybuses built in 1979. The Breda articulated trolleybuses were rebuilt in the middle of the decade from part of the fleet of 236 Italian DUO-buses that had been displaced from the central transit tunnel by the introduction of the new light rail system. The Breda buses have a high failure rate and four of them have already been withdrawn.
It is true that the 100 Gillig two-axle trolleybuses are only ten years old, but they are high floor vehicles. Here Gillig 4187 is on 3rd Avenue heading into the city.
Photographer: G. Mackinger 16 June 2011 / Translation: Martin Wright
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