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United Streetcar goes into ‘hibernation’

The United Streetcar operation, which supplied streetcars to cities including Tucson (pictured), has mothballed its operation after slower than expected demand.

After delivering 18 trams from its Oregon factory, but with no further orders, the United Streetcar plant in Clackamas was put into ‘hibernation’ on 5 December with workers and facilities transferred to the parent Oregon Iron Works, which is now itself a division of Vigor Industrial.
Formed in 2005, United Streetcar was held up as a model of the ‘Buy American’ initiative championed by the Obama Administration, but has struggled to win orders, encountered setbacks in deliveries and faced stiff competition.
The manufacturer had hoped to build ten to 15 streetcars per year, and even tackle the export market with a facility had the capacity to turn out 24 new cars per year. But supply chain issues have resulted in late deliveries to all three cities that have purchased either the 100 or 200-class low-floor vehicles – Portland, Tucson and Washington – and a slower than expected demand has resulted in the decision to mothball the operation. President Kevin W. Clarke, who took over in early 2013, left the business on the same day.
The company’s only design was a variant of the Skoda four-axle low-floor articulated car.