Riding on Calgary's LRT system got a bit more comfortable with the addition of 38 air-conditioned trains.
Calgary Transit took possession of the first of the Next Generation SD160 trains purchased from Siemens Canada for $136 million. Premier Ed Stelmach, whose government provided the funding, and Mayor Dave Bronconnier were on hand for the photo-op on Thursday.
The new SD160s are a way to meet the growing ridership demands and to introduce four-car trains to Calgary's system, said Bronconnier.
"If you think of a three-train car right now, it currently carries about 630 passengers. That fourth car is going to take us nearing 1,000 capacity [which is] very significant," said the mayor.
"As we move forward with our transit investments, it won't be that far in the future where you'll see the C-Train running 24 hours a day."
Calgarians are familiar with the sleek red and white trains already being used, which were retrofitted with air conditioning.
The Next Generation model comes with air conditioning, extra handholds and side-mounted seating which allows for more standing room. Security will be boosted with 10 cameras on each car that can record what's happening on-board as well as in front and behind the train.
"Because it's being monitored by the operator of the train, the operator's able to get ahold of the command centre and get really the emergency response in place very quickly," said Brian Whitelaw, co-ordinator of public safety and enforcement with Calgary Transit.
Once the last new car arrives in Feburary 2011, Calgary Transit's C-Train fleet will number 193, more than double the 83 trains in 2001.