Siemens streetcars recalled in North Carolina
On January 12, 2024, a significant development occurred in Charlotte, North Carolina, where half of the Siemens Mobility trams were withdrawn from service due to the discovery of a slider issue on the wheels of two three-section S70 model trams, reports Railway Supply.
Following the directive from the transportation department, the city’s transit operator CATS deactivated 22 out of the 42 affected trams, according to Railway Supply. The sidelined trams, identified as S70 models, are undergoing maintenance for a duration of two to three months. In contrast, the later series S700 trams remain operational without any reported issues.
CATS CEO Brent Cagle highlighted that maintenance specialists identified excessive play on the wheel, leading to the appearance of the slider. Importantly, CATS asserts that this current issue is not linked to the previous bearing problems that caused some trams to derail in 2022. The North Carolina Department of Transportation and CATS are actively working on an expedited recovery plan for the sidelined trams, aiming to reintegrate them into the system after completing necessary technical maintenance.
The S70 model was manufactured from 2002 to 2017, with the first order for S70 vehicles in the U.S. placed in 2001 for the METRORail system in Houston, Texas. The last S70s were built in 2017 for Minneapolis–Saint Paul’s Metro Transit light rail system. The S70 model was followed by the S700.
The operational S700 trams are unaffected and will continue their regular service. In 2019, Siemens Mobility introduced the model designation S700, representing a rebranding of a version of the S70 that had been in production since 2014. The primary modification between the S70 and the S700 lies in the seating arrangement in the central section of the vehicle. Additionally, the S700 incorporates various technological upgrades.
Siemens Mobility introduced the S700 streetcars into revenue service for the Charlotte Area Transit system in August 2021. The vehicles, manufactured in Sacramento, California, incorporate innovative battery technology enabling hybrid operation both on and off-wire. The streetcars navigate Charlotte’s central business district wirelessly, creating a catenary-free zone while maintaining sustainability benefits.The CityLYNX Gold Line’s second phase, enriched by six S700 streetcars, extends by 2.5 miles, totaling 4 miles and introducing 11 new stops.