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Cincinnati Streetcar Operation Is One Year Away

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One year from now, the Cincinnati streetcar system is scheduled to begin passenger service.  

Right now city officials are anticipating the first vehicle to arrive in the city by the end of next month, about six weeks later than planned.  But they say it shouldn't affect the start date.  

Meanwhile, project manager Chris Eilerman told a city council committee Tuesday construction work is about to finish.

“The main activities that require intersection closures, lane closures, big traffic shutdowns, anything like that, big excavations, should be done by the end of October,” Eilerman said.

The last piece of track work at Second and Main is scheduled to start October 12.

Eilerman said once the first vehicle arrives in the city it will undergo a lot of testing.

“There’s not a system that’s started up or gone through this process without something,” Eilerman said.  “So we fully expect to see that there will be some issues that we’ll have to address, but the extent of those at this point we won’t really know until we get deeper into that process.”

One of the first tests will involve a large tow truck slowly pulling a streetcar along the tracks as a number of people watch for problems or issues.  That test will be done during overnight hours and will involve street closures.

The city is getting five vehicles and the last one should arrive in February.  Those vehicles will arrive on flatbed trucks and they’ll be rolled onto the tracks near the maintenance and operation facility.  

City staff are working to determine whether the streetcar maker will face financial penalties for missing the original delivery deadlines.  Those penalties in the contract are $1000 per day for each missed day.

Council member Chris Seelbach, a major streetcar supporter, once again pointed out during Tuesday’s meeting the project remains on time and on budget.