Calgary S200 – The Evolution High Floor Light Rail Vehicle

Calgary’s light rail can be best described as a 1970’s Belgium inspired ‘pre-metro’, using high floor light rail vehicles, using elaborate stations. 90% of the line was built at-grade on dedicated rights-of-ways, with the downtown section seeing operation mixed with buses.

The initial cost per kilometre of Calgary’s LRT was less than half of Vancouver’s SkyTrain, yet Calgary’s light rail had a higher capacity and attracted more ‘new’ customers to transit. Calgary’s LRT is North America’s most successful new build light rail system, with daily ridership now over 310,000 a day on a 58.7 – 45 station network.

Because of the large ‘pre-metro’ style, high platform stations, Calgary’s transit authorities have decided to stick with high-floor trams, as an economy measure. This has caused some problems with suppliers as the vast majority of trams built today are low-floor and many companies do not wish to invest in high-floor cars as there there is little scope for sales in a small and very tight market.

Siemens has taken up the challenge and now has provided an updated high-floor car for the limited market and the result is the S-200 high-floor LRV.

Siemens is currently building sixty such cars for Calgary, with future orders waiting for the replacing of the original U-2 fleet, which are now operating past their expected lifespan.


Calgary S200 – The Evolution High Floor Light Rail Vehicle


One Response to “Calgary S200 – The Evolution High Floor Light Rail Vehicle”
  1. Haveacow says:

    The S200 is simply the high floor variant of the S70 vehicle marketed by Siemens throughout North America. There are few US and Canadian cities that are in the same situation as Calgary because their LRT system predates the American’s With Disabilities Act. This act along with the Ontarians With Disabilities Act which quite nearly put final nail in the North American transit industry coffin during the early 90’s. These 2 acts caused a great deal of pain throughout the industry from vehicle and LRT system building practices. Although the acts were very well intentioned, the industry was not ready for the switch over. These acts caused the prices of buses to almost triple during the 1990’s and greatly increased the cost of LRV’s during the same period as well (40-75% cost increase over the decade). The S200 may also end up in Pittsburgh, Sacramento, St Louis, Baltimore, Buffalo, San Jose and Edmonton when they go looking for new vehicles. Due to the heavier vehicle requirement in North America the S70 or Avanto is slowly becoming one of the premier choices for European Tram-Train operations which are having to become very sensitive to the prospect of tram on train accident potential.

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