News & Reviews News Wire Cleveland RTA set to have Siemens build new Red Line cars

Cleveland RTA set to have Siemens build new Red Line cars

By Trains Staff | April 5, 2023

| Last updated on February 5, 2024

Contract advances toward final approval, but some funding must still be found

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Rendering of two-unit rapid-transit trainset
A preliminary concept for new Siemens equipment for the Greater Cleveland RTA Red Line, as presented to the RTA Board of Trustees on Tuesday, April 4. Siemens Mobility

CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is prepared to have Siemens Mobility build new railcars to replace its Red Line rapid-transit fleet — but is not yet sure it has the funding to order the equipment. reports the RTA Board of Trustees, in a committee of the whole, voted to advance a $164 million contract for Siemens to build 24 cars for the Red Line in the next four years. The purchase will be discussed again in committee April 10, then move to the full board for approval April 18.

But the RTA is still about $7 million short of the funding needed for that order, which is the first part of an estimated $393 million to replace the entire RTA railcar fleet.

The cars’ preliminary design includes fewer seats than those they will replace — 52 instead of 84 — but will include better wheelcar access, bike racks, and other improvements. Final design features will be finalized in a 15-month period after the contract is signed.

9 thoughts on “Cleveland RTA set to have Siemens build new Red Line cars

  1. It’s good that RTA is looking into buying new cars for the red line. The cars now used are getting old and the maintenance costs are only going to get higher every year as well as lower reliability of the cars in service. Nothing hurts a transit system more than a large fare increase or undependable service. If they can’t get you to your destination on time most of the time they risk getting even lower ridership. This is particularly important since this line serves the airport where someone is depending on getting there in time to make a flight.

  2. The RTA Red Line uses Rapid Transit-type cars, not the LRV’s shown in the graphic above. They do use overhead wire and pantograph collectors, but the Red Line uses high level platforms and allows passage between cars using end doors.

    1. Take a close look at the graphic. It’s got high-level doors. But no end doors, so you won’t be able to pass between cars.

  3. Charles, I am well aware of the use of allowances,etc. in construction having constructed numerous buildings, facilities and infrastructure projects in my career. I have also watched many railcar acquisitions blow up well over the contract costs, time and delivery problems over the past years. You yourself have commented many times asking how does this happen. Signing a contract with many things to be determined is one way. Not the only way, but one.

  4. It would have been nice if the computerized pic was actually on the Red Line. Like at the Airport or Tower City stations. It’s like when some organization or news outlet puts out something about US railroads with a stock photo of a European train.

  5. Final design features to be hashed out after the contract is signed? Great way to see change orders drive the cost through the roof!

    1. Oh, I don’t know. It’s probably more common than you think. In commerical architecture, Finish, Fixtures and Fittings are in serparate contracts. This can be for a number of reasons, including it may not be known what’s to be available on the market by the time that stage is reached, or how the technology might change, or simply, what the owner will want when it gets to that point. If the design is meant to cover every last finishing detail, the design would never be completed. The point is to design a rail car than can accomodate a number of finish options.

      It’s the same in aviation. The crew building the airplane doesn’t know what seats will be installed, or what galley fixtures,or what interior lighting.

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