First streetcar vehicle arrives in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee’s first streetcar vehicle arrived at its downtown destination Monday morning. 

The streetcar was shipped to Milwaukee by flatbed truck from its manufacturer in Brookville, Pennsylvania.  It took several days for the delivery to be made.

Crews unloaded the streetcar from the flatbed track outside the Intermodal Station in downtown Milwaukee. It will be kept at the streetcar’s operations and maintenance facility on 4th Street.

This is one of five streetcar vehicles to be delivered to Milwaukee. Each streetcar is 67 feet long and weighs 83,000 pounds and is designed to accommodate 120 to 150 people.

While construction continues on the track of the streetcar, this new streetcar should begin running “test runs” on the finished track sometime next month. 

The streetcar's arrival drew a curious crowd Monday. 

“It’s great to have another option for transportation in the city of Milwaukee,” said Sandy Stadler. 

“I’m excited. I live right by one of the proposed expanded routes so I’m hoping that actually happens,” said Greg Paules. 

“Not a fan of the color. It’s an odd scheme. I’ve already commented on that,” said Paules. 

The $128 million price tag for the entire project doesn’t sit well with everyone, even if federal funds cover a majority of that cost. 

“Anytime you take a significant step, there’s going to be critics. Again, my hope is, we will win over not all the critics, but we will win over many of the critics,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. 

Barrett said the project so far is on budget and on time. The initial route is set to run from the East side of Milwaukee to the Intermodal station downtown. 

“You can sense the excitement growing as we get closer and closer," Barrett said. 

City leaders said Monday, they expect one streetcar to arrive each month and by August, they should all be in Milwaukee. The goal is to have the streetcars ready for public use in November. 

There’s federal testing requirements for the streetcars to make sure they are safe and ready for public use. In the coming weeks, the streetcar will be tested along the tracks on W. St. Paul Avenue. 

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