City welcomes Modern streetcar this morning

First new streetcar hits Tucson, but won't be on tracks soon

2013-08-30T00:00:00Z 2013-08-30T10:09:52Z First new streetcar hits Tucson, but won't be on tracks soonBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The first of eight new streetcars will arrive in Tucson this morning, but it will be at least a month before anyone sees it riding the 3.9 miles of newly laid track running between the University of Arizona and downtown.

Fresh off the factory floor, the 65-foot-long blue and silver cars from United Streetcar will spend the holiday weekend in a warehouse before crews begin reassembling the vehicle and testing it.

As many as 10 technicians from the Oregon Ironworks subsidiary that built the cars will spend the next four to six weeks testing Tucson’s first addition to its modern streetcar fleet, said Carlos de Leon, the deputy director for the Tucson Department of Transportation.

Until then, fans of the double-ended electric vehicles will have to be patient to catch a glimpse of it on Tucson streets.

“There is a number of tests that have to be done over time,” de Leon said.

Until those inspections are complete, the streetcar will officially still be in the possession of the manufacturer, not the city of Tucson.

Delivery of the streetcar is nearly a year behind the original projections.

The streetcar in Tucson marks the fifth delivered product for the Clackamas, Ore.-based company.

Shipping the first streetcar for Tucson, United Streetcar President Kevin Clarke said, “marks another big milestone” for the company as it continues to grow.

Once in the city’s possession, on-site tests of the system will begin on the nearly four-mile track linking the University of Arizona campus to downtown Tucson.

However, the city needs at least two cars to fully test the electrical systems that power the cars.

Several members of the Tucson City Council have publicly called for United Streetcar to be fined for the delays, but de Leon said it is premature to discuss the cost of the contact while construction of the other seven cars is under way.

The city, however, has informed the streetcar builder it could decide to charge damages for further delays.

De Leon said the $197 million project is financially “on track.”

The last car is expected to be delivered next April, with a new car arriving every four weeks.

Barring any other delays, the streetcar could be up and running by next summer.

A planned “First-Streetcar Arrival Community Celebration” is planned for early September, but no date has been set.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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