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First Hill Streetcar contract now targets summer opening

A new month, a new target date for the First Hill Streetcar launch. Under a revised contract between the city and Czech manufacturer Inekon, the Capitol Hill-to-Pioneer Square streetcar line is slated to finish test runs by June with service to start soon after.

The delay was expected after Inekon failed to meet an earlier October deadline to deliver six cars that will run on the 2.5 mile line, and one additional car for the South Lake Union line. In January, CHS reported that the Seattle Department of Transportation was already preparing for a late summer service start. The revised contract forgives thousands of dollars in late delivery penalties, but imposes even steeper fines if Inekon misses the revised June deadline.

Three cars are currently in Seattle undergoing final assembly, three remain in the Czech Republic, and one was delivered to the Port of Tacoma on Sunday.

The new contract comes after SDOT director Scott Kubly made a trip to the the Czech Republic to put pressure on Inkeon to finish work on the streetcars. The Seattle Times reported Sunday night on the revised contract:

Friday’s new change order would charge Inekon $500, $750 or $1,000 per day of delay per train, based on whether final testing and acceptance are done in early June, late June or in July — for a total $7,000 a day if the schedule badly blows out.

The Seattle Times also reports that SDOT has agreed to an option to buy Inekon trains for a proposed downtown link.

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11 Comments
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genevieve
genevieve
7 years ago

wait, SDOT has agreed to buy more streetcars from this company? Because this experience went so well? Jeezlepetes!

Andrew
Andrew
7 years ago
Reply to  genevieve

The company is a reputable, major manufacturer of streetcars. The delay was possibly caused by our request for a streetcar specially designed for our hill-climbs. For machinery that is altered for a specific use like ours, it is not uncommon for some delays.

Wes
Wes
7 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Yes they’re a very reputable company. We ordered a very specific first of its kind hill climb mechanism for these streetcars. On top of that streetcar implementation is surging as cities around America and the world move away from auto only transportation systems. Hard to keep up with all the demand.

scoville
scoville
7 years ago
Reply to  Wes

So, wouldn’t a reputable company (being provided with our specific needs and having a knowledge of their demand) be able to give us a more reliable ETA?

Carla
Carla
7 years ago
Reply to  genevieve

Not sure how you came to that conclusion, but it’s not a new contract for more cars, it’s a revision of the original contract, (most likely renegotiated to reduce the staggering amount of penalty fees incurred by Inekon).

Carla
Carla
7 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Oops, my bad. I just read a copy of the actual contract. There is an option to purchase extra cars but it’s not a definite.

alibumbayay
alibumbayay
7 years ago

We’ve heard this one before, so forgive me if I’m skeptical. SDOT has been highly disingenuous about the whole project and offered little transparency and communication. I’m a huge supporter of the streetcar but so far all I have learned is to expect delays. I doubt it will run before autumn arrives.

Kyla
Kyla
7 years ago

It would be lovely to have my bank/the IRS/the bloody library waive my late fees…I guess all you have to do is underdeliver.

Marcia
Marcia
7 years ago
Reply to  Kyla

The IRS does in fact waive penalties (and reduce back tax debt) if you can show economic hardship. Check out the “Offer In Compromise” program if this situation applies to you.

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[…] Republic company building the trams for the First Hill Streetcar project that would put that line on track for a start of service this summer. One of the due streetcars finally arrived last week. An update about the streetcar line connecting […]

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[…] reported on the latest twist in the manufacturing delays for the hybrid streetcar trams that saw SDOT negotiating a new deal with new penalties for further delays.The first car in the contract has already been delivered. According to the presentation, the sixth […]