New streetcars will be tested in April and May along the two-mile First Hill line. Service is scheduled to begin this summer.

Share story

The first of the six new First Hill streetcars will begin testing in April along Broadway and South Jackson Street, where pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists should look out for trains.

The $134 million project has been delayed, but passenger service is to begin this summer.

On Friday, a baby-blue vehicle traveled two blocks in the Chinatown International District with Mayor Ed Murray and news crews aboard. Thirty machinists and electricians at Seattle-based Pacifica Marine, with 10 personnel from train supplier Inekon in the Czech Republic, are currently assembling and wiring four vehicles in the city’s new maintenance base.

The baby blue, like other colors for the streetcars, was not chosen on a whim.

The colors for Seattle’s First Hill streetcars, and another to be added to the South Lake Union line, are linked to neighborhoods along the trackways. Here is the chosen pallette, and the rationale:

• First Hill: baby blue, for children born in nearby hospitals.

• Pioneer Square: metallic gold for the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98, when Seattle served as the gateway to Alaska.

• Chinatown International District: one red and one yellow, traditional colors of China.

• Little Saigon: jade green to represent Vietnam and neighbor countries.

• Capitol Hill: hot pink, to display that neighborhood’s “modern energy,” said Ethan Melone, rail-projects manager at the Seattle Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, a mobile of pinkish fighter-plane parts is also being installed in the future Sound Transit light-rail station off Broadway.

• South Lake Union: orange, a corporate color of Amazon, which paid for the new fourth train of the SLU line.