Light Rail Vehicle Supplier Updates

While the public sector faces its own set of operational challenges, the private sector is not immune. And like the public sector, the private sector is adapting and moving forward.

For example, light rail vehicle (LRV) suppliers Siemens Mobility (Siemens) and BROOKVILLE Equipment Corporation (BROOKVILLE) are gearing up for multiple deliveries this year, with BROOKVILLE delivering the first of five Liberty® NXT LRVs to Sound Transit in March and Siemens produces LRVs to deliver to agencies in Phoenix, Portland and Houston, among others.

Mass Transit Magazine recently sat down with BROOKVILLE Sales Manager Jake Ferko and Siemens Mobility North America Rolling Stock President Michael Cahill to get the latest updates on these vehicles, as well as the challenges facing the industry. private is faced.

What features have been added to companies’ LRV/tram rolling stock in the last year, and what new features are coming in 2022 and beyond?

J.F.“We are in our second generation Liberty NXT tram platform. [For the second-generation platform], generally, these are advanced system components that we use. The overall dimensions of it are slightly different. It still uses the same on-board energy storage system, but since it’s been running for so long, it’s gotten better. The on-board energy storage system, we put it to the test with its off-wire efficiency. Now that we’ve seen it succeed and prove itself in the field, we can tell our customers if [they] want a certain length that we didn’t accept or approve of before, we let them now.

CM“In Charlotte, North Carolina, they operate Siemens Mobility’s first hybrid battery-powered streetcar. The tram can operate both on and off the wire via an on-board energy storage system (OESS), allowing the vehicle to maintain a catenary-free zone if required. Our LRVs in Phoenix and soon in Orange County feature a new front bumper designed to minimize crash impact and vehicle damage while increasing driver and passenger safety. In the future, we may upgrade a vehicle’s OESS as battery technology advances, as each OESS was intentionally created to include an expandable, modular design that allows for easy upgrading. Other features we may see in the future include greater use of digital technologies that enable real-time viewing of vehicle on-board cameras and operator screens from wayside control centers.

What are some of the key amenities and features customers are asking to include in LRVs, and how has the pandemic affected those requests?

J.F.“Each time, we receive different requests and requirements from transport agencies. There have been some requests for the use of antimicrobial materials in the car; a better HVAC system to maintain better airflow; and [to] space seats differently or how the standing area is, so boarding and disembarking could all be changed to better meet COVID guidelines. And [someone] wanted the door for the operator.

CM“The pandemic has changed the way people view public transport, and because of that, we’re seeing customer requests for contactless driving capabilities, improved ventilation and air filtration systems, and passenger information systems to monitor overcrowding and the use of masks We are currently offering optimized door spacing for better passenger flow in stations Our C-car configuration on all our VLR S700s allows for better social distancing ; Passenger information systems can communicate social distancing and occupancy levels in real time ; and our vehicle HVAC systems now include fresh air dampers that automatically adjust based on the number of people in the vehicle.

How are companies responding to the push for green mobility?

J.F.: “There are opportunities for all battery electric locomotives, shunting locomotives, freight locomotives. The demand is coming. The thing agencies need to understand is that it comes with the price; it’s expensive We’re looking at some possibilities right now with the potential to supply all electric locomotives. We already have our trams, which are all battery electric, and then there’s the potential for hydrogen propulsion in the future. But that’s is still in its research and development phase.

CM“All of our vehicles, from LRVs to locomotives, are painted with water-based, low-VOC paints. And our vehicles are equipped with LED lighting throughout, requiring less energy and lasting longer than traditional lighting. All of our Charger locomotives are EPA and CARB certified, and our new Amtrak Dual Power Chargers can run on diesel, biodiesel or electric. We are always looking for sustainable alternatives in our manufacturing process. Solar panels provide more than 80% of the energy needed for our Sacramento plant, and we set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and powered by 100% green energy.

What supply chain impacts are companies experiencing?

J.F.“You cannot predict delivery times for certain components. It is therefore difficult to give customers a definite delivery schedule and even price fluctuations with steel. One week we send out a quote, we are confident in our prices, then they fluctuate all the time. And I think everyone sees that. It’s difficult with the supply chain, not having clearly defined delivery times and prices and constant fluctuations. These are long-term contracts. So, it’s a living thing that you need to constantly update. We do our best to optimize costs and we simply learn to adapt to what is happening.

CM“There was undue pressure on the global supply chain from all sides. Several key markets were suddenly closed, cutting off the flow of many key products. In some cases, many customers delayed scheduling certain orders, causing a sudden cascade of excess products. The pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the global supply chain, and to be resilient here in the US market, we are constantly looking to grow and grow our network of US suppliers.

What’s the next big thing for VLRs?

J.F.: “The potential for roads can be totally off the wire. There are solutions that can make this possible. I think trams are strong right now and will continue to be. And the way trams can have a positive impact on the economy of a community and the flow of people moving to different areas of the city who may not be getting the traffic they deserve. [streetcars] finally get some of the exposure they deserve, and success stories help.

CM“Our colleagues in Germany are working on sustainable innovations for the global market, such as a fully automated VLR, vehicle-side automation to assist the driver and an automated depot to direct trains once in the marshalling yard. The global team is also testing hydrogen-powered commuter trains, a really exciting innovation that we can’t wait to see come to the United States. »

Jose P. Rogers