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Seattle [US] - 141 New Trolleybuses Ordered

K. Budach - 01.07.13

The tender for new trolleybuses has been completed and 141 vehicles will be ordered. The order is for 100 standard trolleybuses and 41 articulated vehicles with a total price of U.S. $ 168 million. The electrical equipment will be provided by Vossloh Kiepe. A first prototype is expected to hit the streets of Seattle in the coming year and the series delivery will start in 2015. The only other bidder was Novabus.
There are options for up to 250 solo and 125 articulated trolleybuses which can be exercised until 2017. In addition to the scope of the main contract award there is another option over 60 articulated trolleybuses for MUNI in San Francisco. (See report below about San Francisco). It was hoped that significant cost benefits would be achieved through joint procurement.
The new trolleybuses will first replace the existing 100 rigid vehicles and 59 articulated trolleybuses. The bodies of the rigid vehicles date from 2002, but the electrical equipment was from withdrawn AM General trolley buses from 1979, so the equipment is now over 30 years old. The articulated trolleybuses are 23 years old and were part of a delivery by Breda of 236 a dual-powered buses. 59 of them were converted to pure trolleybuses in 2004/5, while the others were scrapped. The entire fleet is now in need of replacement. It is hoped to achieve an energy saving of about 25-30% with the new vehicles.
The new standard vehicles will have two doorways,while the articulated trolleybuses will have three doors. All will be equipped with a battery-powered auxiliary drive to be able to traverse unwired sections in case of need, such as during diversions. Until now construction work along a trolleybus route often led to the temporary use of diesel buses.

Resumption of trolleybus service on route 70, which has been dieselised 2010 took place in June 2013

Translation: Martin Wright

Top: The 100 Gilling trolleybues with old electrical equipment are to be replaced by the new order. 4172 is on route 13, downtown at the intersection W.Galer / Anne Ave. Photographer : Gunter Mackinger
Below: Gilling trolleybus 4140 on 25/05/2010 at Fairview Ave, three months before the suspension of trolleybus operation on route 70 due to extensive road works.. Photographer: Martin Schmelter

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