MTS Receives First of 45 New Trolley Cars

New Light Rail Vehicle at MTS Rail Yard

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) received the first of 45 new Trolley cars from Siemens as part of an order placed by the agency in 2016. The first vehicle was delivered to MTS’ downtown rail yard last night, with the remaining vehicles being delivered over the next 2 years. The new Trolleys will allow MTS to improve service on existing Trolley lines, while providing the additional trains needed to operate the 11-mile extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line in 2021.

The 45 new S70 light rail vehicles (LRVs) have the same low-floor characteristics as newer models in MTS’ current fleet, but will feature a redesigned middle section to improve passenger flow and provide greater wheelchair accessibility. To facilitate cleaning and maintenance, trains seats will be upholstered in vinyl rather than the cloth used in previous models. Another new feature of the S70s includes the relocation of operational equipment to make access and maintenance easier.

Re-designed interior middle section to improve passenger flow

The new LRVs were manufactured by Siemens, who has been providing LRVs to MTS since the initial launch of the San Diego Trolley in 1981. “These vehicles represent the true partnership that exists between MTS and Siemens,” said MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski. “We worked closely over the last two years to ensure that these vehicles meet the needs of our system, and our riders, once Mid-Coast becomes operational.” MTS will use 36 of the 45 new LRVs on the Mid-Coast Trolley extension. The additional nine vehicles will be used to increase frequency on the UC San Diego Blue, Sycuan Green and Orange lines.

The vehicles were delivered from the Siemens rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, Calif. and bring the total number of LRVs supplied to MTS to 244, making MTS the largest U.S. light rail customer for Siemens. “Siemens is proud to continue our 37-year relationship with MTS with the delivery of these state-of-the-art light rail vehicles for the city of San Diego,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rolling Stock in the U.S. “These California-built vehicles will help continue MTS’ legacy of outstanding service to its riders and help accommodate riders on their growing rail system.” Siemens is currently the leading supplier of light rail vehicles in North America.

The LRVs will be tested and certified on the MTS system before entering operation, with the first vehicles operating as early as December 2018.

MTS operates 95 bus routes and three Trolley lines on 53 miles of double-tracked railway. Every weekday 300,000 passenger trips are taken on MTS bus and Trolley services in 10 cities and unincorporated areas of the county. In FY 2018, MTS served nearly 86 million riders.  For more information on how you can use public transportation and save money, go to