DETROIT — Detroit-based M-1 RAIL and Brookville Equipment Corporation (BROOKVILLE) agreed to terms on Friday, June 5 for the supply of six off-wire capable Liberty Modern Streetcars for the 3.3-mile Woodward Avenue line, set for delivery to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016, with a contract valued at $32 million.

The M-1 RAIL Liberty Modern Streetcars will travel without the aid of an overhead catenary system (OCS) for 60 percent of the 3.3 mile corridor. While operating off-wire, the streetcars will instead draw power from the vehicles’ onboard energy storage systems (OESS), which utilize 750-volt rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. In addition, the M-1 RAIL streetcars will access the vehicle maintenance facility without the use of OCS via a one-tenth of a mile of additional track.


“Selection of BROOKVILLE provides M-1 RAIL with a company that has experience constructing streetcars that best meet this project’s technological requirements and timeline,” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer for M-1 RAIL, in a release issued by the organization on June 8.  “We are pleased to reach agreement with BROOKVILLE, a streetcar manufacturer that specializes in the advanced off-wire technology that will make our system a leader in this technology.”

The M-1 RAIL Liberty Modern Streetcars will measure 66.5 feet-long and include over 70 percent low-floor area, with seating for up to 32 passengers and an average of up to 125 total passengers. Running on standard 56.5-inch track gauge, the vehicles will utilize BROOKVILLE’s industry proven soft-ride trucks and be powered by four 99kW AC traction motors while travelling at speeds of up to 35 mph.

“We are eager to work in partnership with M-1 RAIL to deliver an innovative, service-proven, world-class, American-designed streetcar fleet to the City of Detroit,” said BROOKVILLE Vice President of Business Development Joel McNeil. “With off-wire capabilities, low-floor design compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and a sleek design, we are confident these vehicles will integrate seamlessly into the city’s existing infrastructure to improve accessibility to major attractions and other local transit systems for residents and visitors in one of America’s most iconic cities.”

The agreement marks BROOKVILLE’s second order for its off-wire capable Liberty Modern Streetcars, after shipping two vehicles to the City of Dallas and Dallas Area Rapid Transit in the first half of 2015. Those vehicles operate on the 1.6-mile Downtown-to-Oak Cliff line, traveling one mile off-wire while crossing the Houston Street Viaduct. A key difference between the M-1 RAIL vehicles and the Liberty Modern Streetcars in Dallas will be a wider car-body, measuring 8 feet, 8 inches, compared to 8 feet for the Dallas vehicles.

The streetcars will operate in a 6.6 mile loop on Woodward Avenue to connect the business, shopping, entertainment, and dining centers from Campus Martius Park downtown through Midtown to Grand Blvd in the City’s New Center and North End neighborhoods. A total of 12 stops in each direction will provide easy passenger access to the Detroit Amtrak Station, Wayne State University, Comerica Park, Ford Field, and several theaters, among other attractions, while also integrating with the Downtown People Mover and bus system.

M-1 RAIL is a public-private venture that marks the first major transit project led and funded through collaboration between private businesses and philanthropic organizations working in partnership from the public sector, including local government, the State of Michigan and the US Department of Transportation (DOT). In 2014, the project received a $12.2 Million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant from the USDOT.

Headquartered in Brookville, Pa., in the scenic foothills of the Allegheny forests, Brookville Equipment Corporation is a world class American manufacturer of innovative powered transportation solutions for the mining/tunneling, rail freight and passenger transportation industries. In 2001, BROOKVILLE contributed to the first American manufactured streetcars since the 1950s and has modernized, manufactured and remanufactured PCC and heritage streetcars and trolleys for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Building upon the company’s 95 years of rail-mounted vehicle manufacturing experience and over a decade of streetcar manufacturing, BROOKVILLE introduced the innovative Liberty Modern Streetcar design in 2012 and currently has two off-wire vehicles servicing the City of Dallas.

M-1 RAIL is the non-profit organization leading the design, construction and future operation of a 3.3-mile (6.6 miles round-trip) modern streetcar along Woodward Avenue between Larned Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan. An unprecedented public-private partnership and considered by many a model for similar efforts across the country, the M-1 RAIL Streetcar project is the first major transit project led and funded by private businesses and philanthropic organizations, in partnership with local, state and federal governments. Visit for more information.

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