Cincinnati's first streetcar begins testing phase this weekend

Now that Cincinnati’s first streetcar has arrived in town, what’s next?
The initial vehicle, which arrived Oct. 30, will be put through its first “dead pull” on Sunday, Nov. 8, meaning it will be towed through the motions, ensuring that the mechanics, wheels and rails are working correctly. Assuming all goes well with that testing, the next step is operating under its own power.
Both series of tests will be done on the Over-the-Rhine loop around Washington Park north to Findlay Market.
“The arrival of the streetcar represents a big milestone for the project,” says Rocky Merz, director of communications for the city. “It also represents the turning of the page and a new phase of the project. There is much that needs to happen before passenger service.”
As the streetcar starts moving along the tracks, pedestrians and drivers have to get used to having the streetcar around. The transportation infrastructure of Cincinnati is changing, which means that other things need to change too. Signage will soon be added along the 3.6-mile loop throughout OTR and downtown to help Cincinnatians navigate with the streetcars.
In total, there will be five streetcars. The next two are expected to arrive before the end of the year, with the final two vehicles arriving in the spring. Each streetcar vehicle will go through the same testing processes, logging 300 hours of safe travel before passengers are allowed to ride.
The Cincinnati Streetcar project is currently on time and on budget, though delays could arise once the cars are put on the rails. Passenger service is expected to begin in September.
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Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.