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Delivery of Streetcars for First Hill Line Delayed by Manufacturer

If you have visited Capitol Hill or the International District lately, you have likely seen the finished construction work for the new First Hill Streetcar line. New track, electrical lines, traffic signals and sidewalk abound thanks to the project. But one critical component is missing: the streetcar manufacturer is behind schedule in delivering the line’s streetcars.

When the First Hill Streetcar Line is operational, a fleet of six streetcars will support the line, with three to five streetcars in operation during the service day. The streetcars are being supplied by Inekon, the Czech company that built the streetcars that have operated on Seattle’s South Lake Union Line since 2007.

Three of the cars are being assembled in the Czech Republic and three are being assembled by a local labor force at Seattle’s First Hill Streetcar Operations and Maintenance Facility. However, delivery of the vehicles is behind schedule. Several vehicles are now nearing completion, with initial deliveries expected in December and the entire fleet expected to be ready for operation in early 2015.

The schedule for streetcar delivery and service will continue to have some uncertainty until mid-November when more is known about testing results, supply chain issues and the pace of local production. The streetcar vehicles are comprised of components from numerous suppliers to the global transit vehicle market and demand for streetcar parts has been exceptionally strong. As of September 2014, the brake system supplier has delivered the brakes for two of the streetcars and this supply chain issue could affect the overall schedule.

The First Hill Streetcar Line, a new urban mobility option funded through Sound Transit’s “ST2” mass transit expansion plan, will support economic growth and strengthen connections among the places where people live, work and socialize. It will be an important link in the regional transit system, and will connect the diverse and vibrant residential neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown ID and Pioneer Square. Service will operate 5 AM to 1 AM Monday through Saturday. On Sundays and holidays, service will operate 10 AM to 8 PM.