Hi-Rail Vehicle Operations Underway On H Street/Benning Road

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Media Contact: Reggie Sanders — 202-437-0809, reggie.sanders@dc.gov 

Streetcar Simulation Part of Track Testing Process  

(Washington D.C.) The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has begun using a Hi-Rail Vehicle on H Street/Benning Road as part of the acceptance and safety testing phase of the system, another step in preparation for streetcar passenger service next year.

The Hi-Rail is a service vehicle which can operate both on fixed rails and on a conventional road.  The Hi-Rail has rubber tires and is fitted with additional flanged steel wheels for running on rails.  The flanged steel wheels are actual rail wheels and are raised and lowered as needed. WMATA and CSX utilize similar vehicles on their infrastructure for maintenance and construction operations.

The Hi-Rail vehicle, which is used to simulate streetcar activity, will start running on the tracks on H Street/Benning Road to highlight tolerances for clearance of vehicles that may be outside the white lines or double parked.  It will stop at various streetcar stops while simulating the maximum width and height of a streetcar and triggering streetcar exclusive traffic signals.  The vehicle will also give motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists a sense of what it will be like to share the road when the actual streetcars arrive in the corridor in December.

Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians are advised to pay attention and be aware of their surroundings while the Hi-Rail is in motion.

Crews are currently completing the construction work activities necessary to commence streetcar system safety and certification tests in December, including streetcar turnaround tracks, the installation of poles and overhead wires and final roadway repair and restoration.