Posts Tagged ‘rapid transit cars’

In the Loop

July 2, 2021

 Shaker Heights Rapid Transit PCC cars are inside the Van Aken loop in Shaker Heights in May 1973. Today most of these tracks are gone and Greater Cleveland RTA Blue Line cars do not turn around at the Van Aken station.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Cleveland RTA Eyes Standardized Rail Car Fleet

February 5, 2021
Two Greater Cleveland RTA Blue Line trains pass in June 2013.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is eyeing a standardized type of light-rail car for use on all rail lines of its network.

The move, which was reported by rail passenger advocacy group All Aboard Ohio on its website, is part of a request for proposals for replacement cars.

Cleveland RTA is looking to spend $350 million to buy 40 to 45 cars to replace its aging fleet, a process that is expected to be done in two phases.

Currently, RTA uses cars built by Tokyu on the Red Line between East Cleveland and Cleveland Hopkins Airport via downtown.

Those cars, which were delivered in 1984-1985 would be replaced first because they have substantially deteriorated.

The Green, Blue and Waterfront lines use cars built by Breda that were delivered in 1980-81.

Although those cars are older, they have held up better than the Red Line cars.

RTA is reportedly seeking a type of car that serves both low and high-level platforms.

The Red Line has high-level platforms whereas all other rail lines have low-level platforms.

Stations at East 34th, East 55th and Tower City have both types of platforms.

Americans With Disabilities Act standards require transit platforms to be the same height or within 2 inches of a train car’s floor. Rail car doorways must be no farther than 4 inches from the edge of the platform.

This means whatever type of car RTA buys must be adaptable in use to varying platform heights or all of the agency’s station platforms must be modified to be a uniform height.

The two types of rail cars used by RTA have different specifications for floor height and doorway width.

There are transit rail cars in use today in the United States that are capable of adapting to varying platform sizes.

AAO’s report, which cited unnamed RTA officials, said it isn’t clear if the agency will move to standardize platform dimensions or seek rail cars that can adapt to platforms of varying heights.

The report said RTA’s may make that decision based on the responses it gets from its request for proposals. Cost may be the deciding issue.

One advantage of a standardized rail car fleet would be the ability to run direct service from the Blue and Green lines to Hopkins Airport.

Currently, passengers originating on the Blue or Green lines must change cars at either 55th Street or Tower City to get to Hopkins.

Trolleyville Two for Tuesday

October 27, 2020

This week’s two for Tuesday is a look back at Shaker Heights Rapid Transit car No.303 during its time at Trolleyville USA in Olmsted Township on Cleveland’s suburban west side.

No. 303 was originally an Aurora Elgin & Fox River car. It is shown taking passengers around Trolleyville in the 1960s/early 1970s.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Remembering the Shaker Heights Rapid

February 9, 2020

For many Clevelanders what has been for many year the Greater Cleveland Transit Authority rail lines to Shaker Heights will always be known as the Shaker Rapid.

At one time it was formally known as Shaker Heights Rapid Transit but today it is either the Green Line or Blue Line of RTA.

The top photograph was made in the late 1960s or early 1970s and shows Shaker Rapid car 46 at the Shaker Square station in Cleveland.

The next two photographs were made at the end of the Van Aken line in Shaker Heights.

The images were made in the same time period as the top image.

Car 74 at the far left has its doors open for inbound riders. Looking from the left you can see cars 74, 45, 65, 48, 84, and 77.

In the next image, Car 48 can be seen at the end of what is today the Blue Line.

The staging yard shown in these images has since been removed and there are now just three tracks at the end of the Blue Line just short of the intersection of Van Aken and Warrensville Road.

The location of the bottom image was not specified by the photographer, but it appears to be a westbound car headed for downtown Cleveland just west of the Shaker Square station.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

ODOT Rejects Use of Funds for Rail Car Replacement

November 13, 2019

The efforts of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to land $60 million from the state to help buy new rail transit cars has been rejected.

The Ohio Department of Transportation said the money RTA was seeking is reserved exclusively for new road projects.

The grant money RTA was hoping to get was instead directed toward work on Interstate 77 near Akron and Ohio Route 18 near Medina among other projects.

RTA Deputy General Manager Mike Schipper said the state has some discretion in where the money can go and RTA hoped ODOT would make an allowance for rail car replacement because an increase in the gasoline tax last April is generating new money for the first time in 15 years.

However, RTA did have success in getting funding for rail car replacement from the state’s $70 million transportation budget.

It was awarded $15.3 million of which $5 million is being set aside for new rail cars.

Schipper said RTA will continue to work with ODOT to identify other funding opportunities for its rail car replacement fund.

RTA is seeking to amass $240 million to buy new cars for its four rail lines. Thus far it has received or been pledged $118 million.

The agency hopes to get the state to pay for 25 percent of that, to use local funding for another 25 percent and federal funding for the other half.

A consultant’s report released last spring found that most of the cars on the RTA Red Line are 35 years old, in poor condition, and can continue to operate for another five years.

“We would’ve loved to get the [state] funding, but it’s also started a conversation with ODOT,” Schipper said.

“They’ve acknowledged it’s a definite need, and they’ve showed the first step of that by funding the $5 million. So it’s a starting point, and hopefully we can figure out how to get the $60 million we’re looking for from the state.”

RTA expected to begin the process of procuring the new cars before it has in hand all of the $240 million needed to pay for them.

Schipper said RTA can use the money it already has to begin ordering cars and buy more cars as it receives additional funding.

In this scenario, RTA would award a bid to a rail car manufacturer by January 2021 with the new cars arriving in Cleveland in early 2024.

Pittsburgh Transit Cars to be Rebuilt

June 5, 2018

Light rail transit vehicles in Pittsburgh will be rebuilt during a two year project that will cost $2 million.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County, which operates the light rail network, said the work will begin in the fall and affect 55 Siemens-built cars.

The work, which will take two years to complete, is expected to extend the life of the cars by six years

Some of the cars being rebuilt were delivered in the middle 1980s when the light-rail system opened.

Twenty-eight cars built by CAF will be evaluated. Those cars, acquired in the early 2000s, were already due for a mid-life upgrade.

Red Line Cars to be Made Rolling Art Exhibit

April 23, 2018

A nonprofit group in Cleveland plans to transform some transit cars of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority into a rolling museum of contemporary art.

LAND Studio is looking for artists who will create artworks that will be placed in the windows of 25 Red Line cars.

Each artist will receive $1,500 to create designs for artworks capable of being digitized and printed on vinyl.

Five Red Line cars with have works by five artists to match one of five literary passages taken from the work of a Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner.

The art placed on the five cars will be duplicated five times on Red Line cars thus presenting 25 responses to the five individual literary passages by five writers. Excerpts from the writings will also be displayed on the windows.

LAND is taking applications from artists through April 30. Applicants must submit portfolios of their work through an online portal or by contacting LAND Studio’s Joe Lanzilotta at with subject line: INTER|URBAN RFP.

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award is administered by the Cleveland Foundation to “recognize books that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of diversity.”

The passages to be interpreted by the artists will be chosen from: The Negro Speaks of Rivers, by Langston Hughes; The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson; The Fortunes, by Peter Ho Davies; Far From the Tree, by Andrew Solomon; and The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, by Lillian Faderman.

The Cleveland Foundation is providing $185,000 for the project to place the art on the Red Line cars.

This is the second project involving LAND Studio and RTA. In 2016, painters and photographers produced a dozen large-scale indoor and outdoor murals that were placed along the Red Line.

Survivors of 9-11

September 11, 2017

Sept. 11, 2001, changed this country and the world forever. The World Trade Center in New York was destroyed. When the towers collapsed, the PATH train station in the basement was destroyed. Miraculously, two cars of a PATH train survived. They were hauled out and put in storage with the other debris. The two cars were eventually released. One of them ended up in the Trolley Museum of New York in Kingston, New York. Let’s all remember the victims of 9/11.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Railfanning on the Interstate

June 28, 2013


About a month ago I saw new subway cars for Chicago being transported by truck down I-271.  I didn’t get any photos as it was going the other direction but I do have photos of a similar move on I-71 near Seville from several years ago.

This past Monday, I caught a truck transporting new Gevo radiator hood sections also on I-271 heading for Erie, Pa. Soon these will all be heading to a new plant in Texas. It just goes to show be ready for a train any time anywhere.

Photographs by Todd Dillon






Cleveland RTA Waterfront Line Getting Boost

February 2, 2013

A Cleveland RTA Waterfront car trundles out of South Harbor toward Tower City in October 2011. The route has been weekend only since 2010. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

A Cleveland RTA Waterfront car trundles out of South Harbor toward Tower City in October 2011. The route has been weekend only since 2010. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is expected to restore daily rapid transit service to its Waterfront Line this spring. In a related development, the RTA board last week approved spending $375,200 to repair two stations on the line that have received little use since 2010.

The stations are located at Settler’s Landing and Main Avenue. The work involves replacing brick and concrete pavers, repairing glass shelter panels, and removing ticket booths that are no longer needed because passengers can purchase tickets aboard the trains.

The 2.2 mile Waterfront Line opened on July 10, 1996, amid a surge of optimism and drew more than a million riders in its first year of operation. But patronage began to dwindle as several businesses in the Flats closed their doors and planned economic developments never materialized.

In November 2008, RTA reduced service to weekday rush hour and weekend service. In April 2010, service fell to weekend only.

But things are looking for the Waterfront Line with the expected June opening of the first phase of the Flats East Bank project, which will feature an office building, 150-room hotel and several restaurants. More than a thousand employees are expected to work in the complex and RTA hopes that will boost ridership.

The project is being developed by Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties.