Train cars – Type 1

Question: What are the different types of train cars on MAX?  Part 1

This is basic stuff for people who already know a bit about MAX, but I’ve seen people question what things like “Type 1” or “Type 4” refer to, so here’s a quick overview of the train car types. TriMet currently has four different types of train cars in use on the rail system (not counting the streetcars or the vintage trolleys). This is part one of a series of 3 posts describing the different car types.

Type 1 – cars 101 through 126

Type 1, Exterior, Beaverton Transit Center

The Type 1s are the original cars (manufactured by Bombardier) from when MAX light rail service began. Each Type 1 car has two cabs, one in each end, so they are technically capable of being run as a single-car train. However, they are always coupled to a low-floor car because they are not accessible to people with mobility devices. Some of these cars will have TriMet’s new color scheme (like this one), some will have the old color scheme, and some will have full-body ads. Unlike the rest of the fleet where the destination signs scroll automatically, the signs in a Type 1 must be cranked by hand.

Type 1 InteriorType 1, Interior

They are high floor cars, so passengers need to climb up a few steps to get into the car from the platform. In my opinion, these are the most comfortable cars (maybe due to the higher floor? I’m actually not sure) to ride in despite their age – the original length of the Blue Line opened in 1986, but the first of these light rail cars were delivered to Portland in 1984.  They’ve been somewhat modernized since then, adding HVAC systems and automated passenger announcements. These cars originally had no air conditioning and passengers had to pull a cord, similar to what buses currently use, to request their stops which were announced over the PA by the train operator. Trains now stop at all platforms, making that system unnecessary.

Type 1 InteriorThey also have the most seats out of any of the car types, and plenty of stanchion poles to hold onto if you’re standing.

Although TriMet uses Type 1s on all lines, I personally think these are best suited to the Blue Line – the steps are a pain to navigate if you’ve got luggage and are taking a Red Line train to or from the airport, and the manual sign change just seems a bad idea with the color-changing Green and Yellow lines. But hey, it’s not my decision to make, so you will see these in service on all parts of the alignment.

Type 1 and Type 3Type 1s will always be coupled with a Type 2 or a Type 3 for wheelchair and other mobility device accessibility – here I’m in the leading car which is a Type 1, looking back to the low-floor wheelchair accessible Type 3 as the trailing car. Gone are the days of the wheelchair lifts! They’ve all been removed from the alignment. Pictured below is the last remaining one that had been used for the Vintage Trolley, but now that that only runs a few times a year and doesn’t leave the Transit Mall, this wheelchair lift has also been removed.

These were time consuming to use, so the new bridgeplates that are used on the low-floor cars (those posts soon to follow) are a huge improvement for boarding passengers with mobility devices.

Up next: the first low-floor light rail cars in the USA!

11 responses to “Train cars – Type 1

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Types of #trimet #lightrail #train cars - --

  2. Any idea when they are going to finish refurbing the fleet? I found this tragedy on car 103 the other day! Also have any cars been retired?

  3. Had the distinct pleasure of riding 101 today. I already love the type ones because of how comfortable they are compared to the other series, but even next to other type 1’s, 101 is a dream. Smooth, easy on the ears through the tunnel since most of the seals are still really strong on the doors and flip down windows. Just a wonderful ride. Not sure whose driving but I’d like to shake his hand. 3-25-14 at 6:02pm headed west.

  4. So I’m one of those weird ones that tracks the maxes I ride. Finished off the three series a lot quicker than I thought I would, and today, the mysteriously elusive 107 finally showed up at my stop completing the 100 series. The thing is stunning inside after its million mile refit and tune up. Yay what a great way to start he work week. Type 1’s are my all time favorite to ride and I’ll often chose the type one car over the others even if that means walking further in the max stop. :) enough rambling. Lok

  5. The Type 1 cars need to be retired, as do any buses lower than 2700 in the series. The Type 1 cars are 30 years old and outdated. Perhaps they need to be recycled and reused in some other fashion? Maybe they can be placed into a reserve fleet and used as emergency replacement cars when Type 2, 3 and 4 cars break down. No sense in using them for full time service, as their age lends to higher maintenance costs and the arrival of the brand new Type 5 cars is only 6 months away from now.

    • I don’t know of any retirement plans for them anytime soon. They were designed to last for about 50 years so they still function. I do think they should be limited to the Blue Line as much as possible but I think the official policy is to have the fleet evenly distributed, even though that makes no practical sense for something like the Red Line where people have to haul luggage up the steps.

    • Why would you want the most comfortable and most enjoyable car in the fleet to be retired?? Even when these lovely cars are packed full to the brim they are more enjoyable to ride than any other car in the fleet. Sure you have to climb steps to get into them and they are not ada accessible but other than that the type one in my opinion is the best car in the fleet! I hope they never retire these wonderful trains.

      • If anything needs to be gotten rid of its the abomination that is the type 4. Hate those trains. Worst layout ever

    • Replacing something that still works well and is fundamentally sound just because it is old is a tremendous waste of resources. I’m glad you aren’t on the Trimet board to waste everyone’s money.

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