SANTA CRUZ, CA—Coast Futura today announced the free demonstration of a clean-energy, affordable, accessible streetcar on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, presented by Roaring Camp Railroads, was a major success and proof of concept.
Coast Futura by the numbers:
Miles traveled: 433
Passengers: approximately 2,100
The Coast Futura demonstration was produced with support from a collaboration that included local volunteers, Roaring Camp Railroads and TIG/m. The demonstration is not a proposal for rail service and was presented as a concept intended to inspire a community discussion about the future of rail transit in Santa Cruz County.
Implementation of an innovative streetcar such as the Coast Futura would help in the fight against climate change, producing zero emissions and powered by batteries and hydrogen —and recharged with clean energy sourced from Central Coast Community Energy. The demonstration also provided a proof-of-concept about what car-free commuting would look like, an important step in discussions about transportation equity for hardworking commuters who are getting to work via a car.
“Over the last couple days we’ve been able to ride and watch the demo train cruz the Boardwalk to Capitola and back! We are incredibly impressed with all the passion, education, good energy, and overall community building vibe the leaders of Coast Futura have displayed. Thank you!” Capitola resident Joe Downie shared on Instagram.
“What an amazing way to see Santa Cruz! Pretty stoked to see some alternative clean energy transportation,” Aaron Bistrin of Santa Cruz shared on Instagram.
The Coast Futura demonstration rail vehicle was manufactured by California-based TIG/m, LLC. TIG/m’s ViaTran Streetcars are battery-dominant hydrogen fuel cell hybrids and are wireless. During the demonstration event, the streetcar moved quietly through neighborhoods alongside the Rail Trail, portions of which have been completed or are moving forward.
The Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission authorized the demonstration as an opportunity for the public to see an example of a modern electric rail vehicle on two sections of the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line track.
The Watsonville route ran from the intersection of West Beach and Walker Streets to Harkins Slough and back, about 5.2 miles. The Santa Cruz route ran from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to Capitola and back, covering 7 miles.