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Courtesy of M1-Rail. Conceptual rendering; final colors not determined

M-1 RAIL announced that it has found a company to design, build, test, and certify six individual streetcars that will run along Woodward Avenue. The company, Brookville Equipment Corporation, has displayed a strong performance in providing streetcars for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).

“Selection of Brookville provides M-1 RAIL with a company that has experience constructing streetcars that best meet this project’s technological requirements and timeline, ” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer for M-1 RAIL. “We are pleased to reach agreement with Brookville, a streetcar manufacturer that specializes in the advanced off-wire technology that will make our system a leader in this technology.”

Brookville Equipment Corporation has a long history of manufacturing. Headquartered in Brookville, PA, the company is 100 years old. It’s the only maker of streetcars designed and manufactured exclusively in America.

The Woodward Avenue project will truly be an All-American job.

The route along Woodward will be America’s leading system using off-wire technology. 60 percent of the line will operate on batter power provided by 750-volt rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

“Brookville has had success building streetcars with similar operating systems and specifications to what we have planned for M-1 RAIL, so we know exactly what we’re getting,” said Childs. “Other streetcar projects utilize overhead wiring for everything from vehicle propulsion to the infrastructure of their maintenance and repair sites. M-1 RAIL will minimize its impact on the aesthetics of Detroit’s iconic Woodward Avenue, and the Penske Technical Center will not have the labyrinth of wires overhead that typify the maintenance and repair sites of other systems,” he said.

Streetcar Details

M-1 RAIL plans to purchase six streetcars, support services, and spare parts for a total of $32 million. The three-piece, articulated cars are expected to be 66 feet long and be able to carry about 125 passengers. The streetcars are expected to arrive in Detroit in the fourth quarter of 2016.

These cars won’t be left in the dust, either. Contrary to previous reports that the streetcars would go only 15 miles per hour, they’ll travel up to 35 mph, the maximum speed on Woodward, so if you find yourself passing one of the streetcars, you might want to slow down. The cars will also stop for traffic lights, helping to reduce driver and pedestrian confusion.

M-1 RAIL’s streetcars will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Bicycle racks will be included in the cars’ design to accommodate Detroit’s growing bicycling community.

Perhaps one of the coolest features of the new streetcars is the optional Wi-Fi. Now you can make the most of your commute by checking work email, catching up on your favorite TV show, or challenging friends to Candy Crush. Cutting edge HVAC systems will make sure that passengers are comfortable, no matter what the weather is like outside.

Walk-up fares for the streetcars are expected to be $1.50. However, there will be additional fare options, including passes available for purchase. The aim is to eventually have a universal fare system that works with the city bus system (Detroit Department of Transportation), SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation), Detroit People Mover as well as M-1 RAIL.

These streetcars will help increase mobility in Downtown Detroit, and they’ll do it safely. Look for these cars to hit the streets sometime in late 2016 or 2017. They’ll most likely be well worth the wait.

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