The S70 is in use, or on order, by several light rail systems in the United States, where Siemens refers to this model only as the S70. In this field, it competes mainly with Bombardier and Kinki Sharyo low-floor LRVs and modern streetcars manufactured by Inekon and Brookville Equipment Corporation.
In Europe, Siemens's Combino and Avenio models are the preferred offerings for purely light rail or tramway systems; and the same S70 model, under the name Avanto, is principally sold to tram-train systems which, in whole or part, share their tracks with heavy rail trains. Here its principal competitors are Bombardier’s Flexity Link tram-train and Alstom’s Citadis Regio-Citadis/Citadis-Dualis tram-train variants. To date, the Avanto has been sold to two tram-train operations in France.
Size and configuration
The S70/Avanto has a modular design and can be built in a number of different sizes and configurations, including both light rail vehicle and streetcar versions. The streetcar version is 9 feet shorter than the standard LRV version. There are some interior differences as well: the LRV version has the upper seats facing the cab, while the streetcar version has the upper seats facing the doors of the train. In addition, the horn on the LRV version is located on the bottom of the cab while the streetcar version is located on the top of the train.
To date, all S70s delivered in North America have had a length between 91 feet (28 m) and 96 feet (29 m), but the 77 cars currently on order by Utah Transit Authority for the Salt Lake City-area TRAX system and the 65 cars on order for the San Diego Trolley will be only 81 feet (24.7 m) long. The SD Trolley vehicles are also designed to operate in tandem with older Siemens SD-100 vehicles, with a SD-100 sandwiched between two S70 vehicles. The Avantos built for France have a length of 36.68 m (120.3 ft).
Most S70 vehicles are double-ended, with operating controls at both ends and doors on both sides. An exception is the 40 cars in service on Portland's MAX system, which are single-ended and have cabs at only one end of each car. However, they have doors on both sides and in service they always operate in pairs, coupled back-to-back, so that each consist has operating cabs at both ends.
The S70/Avanto can be configured to operate on various overhead power supplies. The Avantos ordered for France are dual voltage, capable of operating on 750 V DC when running on tram or light rail tracks and on 25 kV AC when running on main line tracks. The vehicles operating in Paris currently operate on AC only; its DC capabilities will not be used until an extension of the current line to Montfermeil is completed.
Usage and current orders
- Houston METRORail, Texas: 18 units purchased, with delivery complete in late 2004. 19 additional units on order, procured using Utah Transit Authority options, to be delivered starting in late 2012. The original cars are the long variant; the new cars are the shorter variant as used by UTA.
- San Diego Trolley, California: 11 'full size' 92-foot (28.04 m) units purchased in first order in October 2004, with delivery complete in July 2005. A second order, for 57 81-foot (24.69 m) cars, was placed in October 2009; the order was later increased to 65 'streetcar length' S70s in 2012. All of the S70 vehicles are projected to be in service by 2014.
- Charlotte Area Transit System, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States:
- Lynx Blue Line: 16 units purchased for $50 million, in service since November 2007. Four additional units purchased in 2008 and in service by March 2010 to keep up with higher than expected ridership. In 2012, after 4 years of operation, the trains had to be repaired at the Siemens facility in California for an estimated cost of $400,000 each.
- CityLynx Gold Line: Six units were purchased in 2016, with delivery by 2020. These six cars will have internal batteries to allow off-wire operations in some areas. The S70 streetcars are a compact version of the S70 light rail vehicles  that currently operate on the LYNX Blue Line. The cost to purchase these six vehicles and spare parts is $40,400,000.
- MAX, Portland, Oregon: 22 units purchased. Order for 21 cars announced on May 11, 2006; later expanded by one car. Entered service starting in August 2009. Order placed 2012 for another 18 cars.
- The Tide Light Rail, Norfolk, Virginia: 9 cars, ordered in 2007. First cars delivered October 2009. Entered service with the opening of the Norfolk system, in 2011.
- Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City: 77 units ordered; in service since August 7, 2011. The order also includes an option for 180 additional cars.
- Metro Transit, Twin Cities, Minnesota: 59 purchased with 40 options. Delivery began in 2012, with the first unit entering service in February 2013. In October 2015, the option was exercised for five additional vehicles at a cost of $20 million.
- Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Georgia: 4 cars, ordered in 2011. In May 2011 Siemens announced that it had won the $17.2 million contract to build the four streetcars that run on the Downtown Loop. The vehicles were built at Siemens’ plant in Florin, California, but with major components, including the propulsion system, assembled at Siemens' plant in Alpharetta, Georgia. The first of the streetcars was delivered on February 17, 2014, and began passenger service on December 30, 2014.
- Sound Transit Link Light Rail, Seattle: 122 units purchased in September 2016, with delivery starting in 2019. This $554 million contract is the largest contract in Sound Transit's history and the purchased LRVs will be used in expansions to Bellevue, Northgate, and Lynnwood.
- SNCF, Paris region: 25 tram-train units purchased. Entered service starting on November 18, 2006, with the opening of new route T4, between Aulnay-sous-Bois and Bondy in Île-de-France. The S70 model used here is known as the Avanto.
- Mulhouse tramway, Mulhouse: 12 tram-train cars delivered, for use on an SNCF line from Mulhouse to Thann, Haut-Rhin. First unit delivered on November 6, 2009.
- An order for 22 S70 cars, placed in 2006 by Ottawa, Ontario for a planned expansion of its O-Train system, was later cancelled. Political problems had resulted in cancellation of the entire expansion project, which in turn led to lawsuits by Siemens and other contractors against the City of Ottawa. A new line currently under construction will instead use locally-assembled Alstom Citadis vehicles.
A Siemens S70 streetcar testing at the Atlanta Streetcar Downtown Loop Line
- Light rail in North America
- Siemens–Duewag U2
- Siemens SD-100 and SD-160
- Siemens SD-400 and SD-460
- Siemens S200
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