Bombardier Transportation today participated in the official launch of the first light-rail transit line in the state of Minnesota. The occasion marked the first phase of transit service on the new Hiawatha Line, which will eventually connect major financial and work centers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region. Presiding at the celebration was Mr. Michael Setzer, General Manager, Metro Transit, the regional transit system for Minneapolis/St. Paul. Distinguished guests included Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, U.S. Representative Martin Sabo and Federal Transit Administration Administrator Jenna Dorn.
The Hiawatha project will ultimately establish a 12-mile (20-km) light-rail line providing transit service to downtown Minneapolis, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington. The first phase covers eight miles (13 kilometers) between the Minneapolis Warehouse District and Fort Snelling. Metro Transit has said it will open the remainder of the line no later than December 31, 2004.
William Spurr, President, Bombardier Transportation—North America, said Bombardier was proud to be affiliated with one of the most advanced public rail transit systems in the country. “We’ve worked closely with the team at Metro Transit on this project, and that relationship is now bearing fruit,” said Spurr. “This is going to be one of the finest light-rail lines anywhere in the United States, and we are pleased that our vehicles will play a part in its success.”
Phase I of the Hiawatha service utilizes 14 Flexity* light-rail vehicles (LRVs) manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. The LRVs represent the first North American application of Bombardier’s Flexity light-rail technology. Bombardier is manufacturing a total of 24 Flexity LRVs for Metro Transit based on a contract signed with the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Council in January 2001. Metro Transit is the 11th largest transit system in the United States.
The Flexity LRVs employ service-proven engineering concepts from Bombardier Transportation’s low-floor, light-rail products in Europe – including LRV systems in Cologne, Germany and Stockholm, Sweden – while complying with all North American standards and regulations. The design features Bombardier’s 70% low-floor LRV technology, which positions 70% of the vehicle floor and all the entry ways just 14 inches above the top of the rails. The low-floor design facilitates passenger access at grade level, helping transit agencies avoid costly construction of special ramps and access platforms.
Car shells for the LRVs are manufactured at Bombardier Transportation facilities in Sahagun, Mexico with final assembly and testing taking place at Bombardier’s manufacturing site in Plattsburgh, New York.
In North America, Bombardier Transportation is the leader in high-speed rail, commuter rail, automated rapid transit and automated guideway transit systems. It also maintains two of the largest multi-level commuter fleets in Canada and the United States.
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from regional aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2004 were $15.5 billion US and its shares are traded on the Toronto, Brussels and Frankfurt stock exchanges (BBD, BOM and BBDd.F). News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
*Trademark of Bombardier Inc. and/or its subsidiaries
Hélène V. Gagnon
+1 450 441-8156