TriMet to retire ‘workhorse’ light rail vehicles in Oregon

L-R: A TrimMet Type 1 train alongside a Type 2. Photo: Musashi1600.
L-R: A TrimMet Type 1 train alongside a Type 2. Photo: Musashi1600.

TriMet (Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon) has begun the process of replacing the oldest light rail vehicles (LRVs) in its fleet in Oregon, the United States.

The original Type 1 units entered service in 1986 with the launch of the MAX Blue line.

Operator TriMet said that, thanks to its maintenance crews, it has been able to extend the lifespan of the vehicles beyond manufacturer Bombardier’s estimate of 1.5 million miles of service per vehicle.

That milestone was met in 2014 and by the time the vehicles eventually retire, they could reach two million miles per vehicle.

In a statement on its website, TriMet described the vehicles as “system workhorses” and added: “Like any ageing vehicle, they are requiring more maintenance, experiencing increased mechanical issues and cost 28 per cent more to maintain than our newer vehicles.

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“Additionally, parts for the vehicles are increasingly difficult to find, electronic systems are becoming outdated, and the high floors can make boarding both difficult and time-consuming for riders with mobility devices.”

TriMet will be acquiring 26 new LRVs to replace the Type 1s.

The new vehicles will be designated ‘Type 6’ vehicles and feature low floors, “modern safety features” and updated mechanical and electrical systems.

Designing the new vehicles will begin in 2019, manufacturing in 2020 and the aim is for the first Type 6 to enter service before the end of 2021.

All Type 1s should be retired by the end of 2023.

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