OC Streetcar is a 6.5km-long modern rail transit system being developed in Orange County, California, US, by Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). It will become the county’s first modern electric streetcar once it is operational.

The streetcar system will mainly link Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center (SARTC) to a new multimodal hub at Harbor Boulevard / Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued environmental clearance for the project in March 2015.

FTA and OCTA signed a full-funding grant agreement with initial approval of $149m for the project in November 2018. The total estimated cost of the project is $408m, which is being funded through a combination of local, state, and federal funds.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held in November 2018, while construction is scheduled for completion in late-2021.

OC Streetcar route and infrastructure details

OC Streetcar will be a 6.5km-long rail line running from Santa Ana train station to Garden Grove, via Downtown Santa Ana, Civic Center, and the Pacific Electric right of way. It will also offer connections to 18 OCTA bus routes along the way.

The system will have ten stops in each direction and the capacity to carry approximately 7,300 passengers a day upon commencement of its first year of operation.

An operations and maintenance facility to be built as part of the project will be used for streetcar service, inspection, painting, and component change-out. It will also include fare collection equipment maintenance, streetcar parts and component storage, and OCS and TPSS parts storage.

Rolling stock for OC Streetcar

OC Streetcar system will be served by ten Siemens S70 streetcars, comprising eight operational vehicles and two spare vehicles. Trains will run at a frequency of 10 minutes to 15 minutes.

Siemens S70 low-floor streetcars will have a length of 79.1ft, width of 8.7ft, and maximum height of 23ft. It will have a seating capacity of 70 and feature four wheelchair spaces.

“The streetcar being built in Orange County will increase access for residents, commuters and tourists using the regional transit system.”

The vehicle will be able to travel at a maximum speed of 56km/h and will be powered electrically from an overhead catenary system. The streetcar will also feature bicycle racks or dedicated areas for passengers with bicycles.

The double-articulated and bidirectional vehicle will offer zero-emissions. It will feature a knee-to-back seating arrangement and will have eight wide-opening sliding doors.

Each vehicle will be equipped with two roof-mounted HVAC units, passenger-operator intercoms, electronic destination signs, and surveillance cameras for passenger safety.

OC Streetcar benefits

The streetcar being built in Orange County will increase access for residents, commuters and tourists using the regional transit system. It is aimed to stimulate business development, increase sales, and create temporary and permanent jobs.

Passengers in the region will be able to commute using public transportation throughout Orange County and beyond. The streetcar will improve residential connectivity between neighbourhoods, businesses, and major destinations.

It will also provide a convenient connection between Metrolink trains and other transportation options at SARTC, as well as employment, restaurant, and retail centres in Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and surrounding areas.

Contracts involved

OCTA placed a $220.5m contract Walsh Construction for the construction of the OC Streetcar project in September 2018.

Siemens received a contract from OCTA to provide eight S70 low-floor streetcars for the project in August 2018. The contract also includes an option to provide additional ten streetcars in future.

HNTB Corporation designed the OC Streetcar project. HDR is the project management consultant involved in the development of the project’s FTA New Starts evaluation and ratings templates.

Arellano Associates is responsible for the development of a Comprehensive Communications Plan (CCP) for communicating and engaging stakeholders in support of the project.