1st vehicle for Tempe Streetcar transit system rolls into Valley

Mar 22, 2021, 2:14 PM | Updated: 2:15 pm

PHOENIX – The first streetcar for Tempe’s much-anticipated new public transit route made its debut in the Valley on Monday.

The 72-foot-long vehicle was unveiled at Valley Metro’s rail maintenance center in Phoenix after a journey from its Brookville, Pennsylvania, birthplace.

The Tempe Streetcar fleet will include six vehicles built by Brookville Equipment Corporation, each of which has 40 seats and can carry up to 120 passengers.

“Some people were expecting a nice little trolly type of thing,” Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith said during the unveiling.

“This is the modern streetcar. It’s actually quite large. It’s probably bigger than you thought it was, but it’s still about 20 feet shorter than the light rail vehicle we run.”

The streetcars can travel on the light rail tracks to and from the maintenance center.

“I don’t know if there’s anyplace in the country where you can have streetcar and light rail that are as integrated as they are here,” Smith said.

The Tempe Streetcar system, covering 3 miles along Rio Salado Parkway, Mill Avenue and Apache Boulevard, is set to open later this year at a date to be determined.

The route will have 14 stops and two connections to Valley Metro light rail.

The streetcars run off a combination of overhead electrical wires and lithium-ion battery power.

The project’s price tag is about $200 million, with most of the funding coming from the Proposition 400 regional sales tax. The Tempe Streetcar received $75 million in federal grant funding.

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1st vehicle for Tempe Streetcar transit system rolls into Valley