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Photo of the new streetcar at the manufacturing plant. Courtesy M1 Rail.
Photo of the new streetcar at the manufacturing plant. Courtesy M1 Rail.

If you drive down Woodward from about Grand Boulevard to Campus Martius, you can see the overhead lines being strung up, the rails getting completed and the stations starting to pop up. We’re getting closer to QLINE becoming a reality.

The latest news is that the first streetcar from Brookville Equipment Corporation is set to arrive Wednesday, two months ahead of the initially projected timeline, according to information provided by the M1-Rail organization, the nonprofit overseeing the project.

“Delivery of the first QLNE streetcar is an important milestone for this project,” said M-1 RAIL CEO Matt Cullen in a statement. “We’re bringing a sleek, modern vehicle of exceptional quality to Detroit. This project is one of the most innovative public transportation projects in the world today, from our landmark private-public partnership to the innovative off-wire battery technology that will power the QLINE, we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome the first QLINE vehicle.”

The streetcar will depart today from the manufacturer, the only maker of streetcars to design and manufacture exclusively in the United States.

Inside the QLINE streetcar. Courtesy photo.
Inside the QLINE streetcar. Courtesy photo.

“Receiving the first QLINE streetcar at this time will provide M-1 RAIL a greater opportunity to help Detroiters acclimate to the idea of sharing the road with a streetcar, and give us additional time for driver training,” said M-1 RAIL Chief Operating Officer, Paul Childs. “Over the next few weeks, we’ll complete the final assembly and mechanical checks needed before the streetcar makes its first appearance on Woodward Ave.”

The vehicle will depart today from Brookville Equipment Corporation, the only maker of streetcars to design and manufacture exclusively in the United States.

Testing has already begun on the track, with nearly 1,000 tests that will be conducted before the start of passenger operations in 2017, operating a small motorized inspection car called a “speeder” to ensure the track is free of obstructions in advance of the first QLINE vehicle delivery.

The first day was a bit slow as many folks haven’t realized yet you’re not supposed to park or leave your vehicle on the tracks.

Here are some tech specs on the new streetcars:

Each car will be three pieces and 66 feet long

They will carry about 125 passengers per car

The organization is saying now that they will be traveling up to 35 mph to share the road

They will have wi-fi access for passengers, bicycle racks and and HVAC (heating/cooling)

The QLINE will allow for station-level access for pedestrians as well as persons who use mobility assistance devices such as wheelchairs

The QLINE is expected to open in Spring of 2017.

What to know and where to go on the Daily Detroit Podcast