Detroit Uses Same Streetcars as Troubled Dallas System


Detroit's new QLine shares something in common with the Dallas streetcar system -- and that may not be a good thing, suggests Steve Neavling of Motor City Muckraker.

Both systems use rail cars from the same company:

The most troubled streetcar system in the U.S. is in Dallas, where a slew of mechanical failures has forced the $4.5 million vehicles out of service more than 70 times in the past seven months.

In April 2015, Dallas pushed the frontier of technology by debuting the nation’s first hybrid streetcars, which are powered by batteries when not attached to overhead cables. But the shiny, sleek “Liberty Modern” streetcars are so unreliable that daily ridership has plummeted to just 300, by far the lowest in the country.

City of Dallas officials want to hold the manufacturer, Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Co., responsible for problems that range from faulty brakes and hydraulics to failing batteries that power the streetcars when they’re off-wire.

The disastrous performance of the streetcars could spell trouble for Detroit, which will become the second city in the U.S. to use the same “Liberty Modern” vehicles. The $140-million QLine is scheduled to launch May 12.

Hybrid streetcars are the newest trend in transit because they allow cities to rely less on cumbersome overhead cables. Oklahoma City and Milwaukee also purchased “Liberty Modern” streetcars, which are expected to launch next year.

Read more:  Motor City Muckraker

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