Edmonton’s newest trains are almost ready to hit the rails.
Thirty-seven shiny new LRT cars will double the existing number of vehicles in the city’s fleet.
Eleven of the cars will be used to bump up the number of riders on the existing Health Sciences to Clareview line, while the remaining 26 will hit the tracks with the brand- new southern extension when it’s completed in April 2009.
“These vehicles are being brought in to service our extension to the south side,” said transit project manager Wayne Mandryk. “In addition the new cars will address the increased demand, because ridership has skyrocketed over the past few years.”
The new cars are hailed for their convenience-minded design. Doors are bigger, signs are brighter and more visible, and each car is air-conditioned. The last LRT units were purchased in 1982.
“These are nice, new units,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel at the unveiling of the new cars yesterday. “They are way more modern-looking than the old guys.”
Mandel said expansion of the LRT is costing the city over $800 million. Officials anticipate the addition of the cars will double ridership, bringing the daily tally up to 100,000.
“Edmonton has grown to be a big city,” said MLA Thomas Lukaszuk. “Moving people on roads in large numbers is no longer an option.”