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Behind-the-scenes tour of KC Streetcar

Behind-the-scenes tour of KC Streetcar
Behind-the-scenes tour of KC Streetcar
Posted at 5:33 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 19:35:03-04

The countdown is on. Kansas City’s streetcar will officially be open to the public and begin rolling down the city streets in days.

While crews prepare for Friday’s grand opening, they will be working behind the scenes every day to ensure a smooth ride.

41 Action News took an exclusive tour of the Singleton Yard, the hub and operations center for the Kansas City Streetcar.

First stop: Maintenance bay

Kansas City Street Authority currently has four streetcars, three of which will always be in operation.

Every day, before and after the cars hit the tracks, they will undergo inspections. Crews will check the cars’ air conditioning, lights, engine, doors and wheels.

“We maintain, we wash, we check all of the streetcars every day,” said Donna Mandelbaum, the spokeswoman for the KC Streetcar Authority.

Second stop: Storage area

Inside Singleton Yard is an area designated for storage, with hundreds of boxes sitting on shelves. For example, there are spare doors, screws, parts of engines, electrical equipment and more.

“Everything happens here. We do not have to ship anything out to any other cities or back to the manufacture, it’s all here,” said Mandelbaum.

There are five employees dedicated to maintenance. There are 10 operators in charge of running the streetcar and a handful of supervisors.

Third stop: Operations center

As operators drive the streetcars through Kansas City, supervisors and others at Singleton Yard will be able to track their every move.

Each streetcar has a GPS locator and 16 cameras located both inside and outside the cars.

“All of those feeds come to us on the operation center, so we can see if there is anything wrong on the track or if there is anything going on inside the streetcar vehicle,” said Mandelbaum.

If there is something on a track or an accident prohibiting the streetcar from passing, Mandelbaum said the operations center will be immediately notified. She said crews will be directed to "holding" stations and the Streetcar Authority would provide alternative transportation to take passengers where they need to go.

Hours of operation

The grand opening kicks off Friday at 10 a.m.

Monday through Thursday: 6 a.m. to midnight

Friday: 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Saturday: 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Sunday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

What else to know:

  • There will be no fare to ride the two-mile Union Station to River Market route.
  • Each of the 16 one-way stops will last about 15 seconds.
  • One way will take a little more than 13 minutes, and round trip will be about 30 minutes.

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Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.

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