Aruba`s streetcars are powered by batteries augmented by hydrogen
Aruba's streetcars are powered by batteries augmented by hydrogen fuel
cells, which in turn are powered by the island's year-round trade winds.
Arubans claim that they are the first in the world to use hydrail technology
in regular passenger service. The vehicles are bidirectional and use PCC
type B2 trucks that were manufactured in the last century by Clark
Equipment Co. for streetcars that ran in Boston and Shaker Heights, Ohio.
TIG/m re-machined the wheels to conform with the Ri59 rail laid in
The single-deck car arrived in Aruba on 15 December 2012 and the line
was formally inaugurated the following 22 December – the Saturday before
Christmas. The following three photographs of the inauguration were taken
by the staff of the online newspaper 24ora.com:
The man waving the Aruban flag in the last photo is Aruban Prime
Minister Mike Eman. The photograph below was taken by the Aruba
Another Aruba Herald photograph taken on 22 December 2012:
The line was formally 'inaugurated' in December, but regular everyday
operation did not begin until 19 February 2013. Landscaping, traffic
signaling and final touches on the pedestrian mall took several months. The
photograph below, which shows one of the junctions on Schelp Straat, was
taken by American visitor Richard Panse on 13 May [see map]. Note the
lack of overhead wires:
A nice interior view by Richard Panse, taken as the car moved along Caya
Betico Croes, the city's main street [see map]. Who would not enjoy a ride
on this beautiful, friendly, naturally air-conditioned vehicle? The little
windows along the roofline – the clerestory – provide additional
Caya Betico Croes is now a quiet, bucolic, pollution-free pedestrian mall.
Only streetcars and people are allowed [see map] [Richard Panse]:
The main street at night [see map]. Track gauge is standard 56 1/2 in =
1435 mm. The line is approximately 3/4 mi (1.2 km) long ['Stratosphere
The following photograph was taken in June 2013. Notice the elegant
construction of the vehicle and the reflection of the track on its front panel
Oranjestad's second, double-deck streetcar arrived at port on 4 June and
was photographed on Caya Betico Croes on 13 June [see map] [TIG/m]:
The magnificent carbarn built for the fleet down on the dock [see asterisk
on the map]:
The double-decker at the carbarn door [see map]. Photograph taken in
October 2013 [TIG/m]:
The two cars in the barn in October 2013 [TIG/m]:
The double-decker pulling out onto the line [TIG/m]:
Many of the passengers on the Oranjestad Streetcar arrive in Aruba on
ships like the Carnival Breeze [see map]. There must have been a lot of
passengers on that ship... [TIG/m]:
Double-deck streetcars are always popular with the public – especially
when they provide a beautiful, safe ride on a mysterious tropical
island [seemap] [TIG/m]:
Back to the main street, Caya Betico Croes [see map] [TIG/m]:
The photograph below, taken in 2013, shows an assembly room at the
TIG/m factory in Chatsworth, California. The gray frame in the foreground
and the gray structure in the rear will be the third and fourth streetcars – a
single-deck and a double-deck – that TIG/m is building for Aruba. (The
blue and red streetcars are for another project.) [TIG/m]:
This page is a work in progress.
More photographs and other material will be added
as the streetcar line develops.
(in order of publication)
Lee A. Dew. The Railroads of Aruba and Curaçao / Railverkeer op
Aruba en Curaçao. 108 pages, Rotterdam, 1977. The principal sourc
of information about the rail history of the islands. Text in English
and Dutch. Photographs and maps.
Allen Morrison. Battery Power. Webpage charting the history and
development of the battery power used on streetcars 100 years ago.
'Hydrail – The Green Transport Solution We've All Been Waiting
For?' in railway-technology.com, 21 June 2011. Pioneer article abou
the new technology.
'kearthfan101'. The Grove Trolley. YouTube video of the batterypowered streetcar line in Los Angeles. Nice HD image quality. 7
minutes 21 seconds.
Arubus, the local bus company which operates the streetcar, solicite
applicants for motormen on 1 February 2013.
Tramcar - Grand opening ! Oranjestad-Aruba-Caribien. A YouTub
video made in March 2013, when the line was still under constructio
5 minutes 43 seconds.
'TIG/m Modern Street Railways Delivering World's Greenest
Streetcars to Aruba in Island's Transition to 100% Sustainability'
inaltenergymag.com, 27 March 2013.
Stan Thompson. 'Aruba to Debut 1st Hydrogen Streetcar Fleet'
inhydrogencarsnow.com, 1 April 2013. Excellent short description o
the Aruba project. Thompson is a prominent promoter of hydrail.
'International Hydrail Conference', June 2013 in Toronto, described
at hydrail.org. Information on the meeting and links to many article
The 'Hydrail' page in Wikipedia supplies good historical material an
references to other articles.
Aruba has numerous daily newspapers, but most publish only in th
Papiamento language (which Google Translate does not translate).
For streetcar news the most useful periodicals are Aruba
Herald,Diario, and 24ora.com.
Aruba | Projects & Economy | Proyectos y Economía. This
SkyscraperCity forum is often the best source of information about
current developments in Oranjestad.
In addition to the works noted above, the author is indebted to Bradley
Read, president of TIG/m, for supplying most of the background
information and many of the photographs shown on this page.