Edmonton Transit held an open house today at its D.L. MacDonald facility, known as the LRT garage, as part of Transit Centennial Week celebrations. Sharon and I decided to check it out, and arrived at Clareview just in time for the second last tour. I’ve always been curious to see where the LRT cars are housed and maintained, so I thought the open house and tour was pretty darn cool.
We were led throughout the facility, and got to see where the LRT cars are stored, where their various parts are worked on, where they are painted, etc. The D.L. MacDonald garage is an absolutely massive building, and apparently they are under construction to expand it further. It’s really quite impressive to see.
The highlight of the tour was definitely getting to check out the new SD160 Light Rail Vehicles. ETS will be receiving 37 of them at a rate of two per month, finishing in December 2009. Each car costs approximately $4 million CDN. As the new cars come in from Siemens in Sacramento, the old ones are shipped out for retrofitting. The cost for retrofits is estimated to be another $25 million in total.
At first glance there doesn’t appear to be much difference between the old cars and the new ones, but I’m sure there are extensive differences to the underlying systems (better electronics, for instance). A few of the noticeable changes include: cameras instead of mirrors, digital signs throughout, windows that do not open (which means they must have A/C), more comfortable seats, and slightly different mechanisms on the doors. They also seem a little larger.
The first of the new LRVs will go into service late this year. You can see many more photos of the new cars and the rest of the D.L. MacDonald garage here.