Sound Transit Siemens series 2 LRV

USA: Seattle’s Sound Transit has put into service the first six of 152 light rail vehicles which it had ordered from Siemens Mobility as part of an expansion programme.

This will see its fleet tripled and line extensions opening every year to expand the network from 35 km to 99 km by 2024.

Series 2 fleet

Sound Transit ordered 122 LRVs from Siemens in September 2016 and then 30 more in April 2017, taking the total value of the Series 2 fleet order to $642·5m.

The first was delivered from the manufacturer’s Sacramento factory for testing in June 2019, and underwent 1 600 km of trial running. Subsequent vehicles have undergone 450 km of trial running, with 41 now delivered.

‘These new cars will increasingly become the mainstay of our Link light rail fleet, improving our riders’ experiences’, said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff when the first Series 2 LRV entered service on May 14. ‘These new vehicles will be how we meet passenger demand for the dramatically expanded network we will deliver over the next three years.’

Sound Transit said the Series 2 LRVs offer passengers several improvements over its Series 1 fleet of 62 KinkiSharyo cars. They have 70 seats, with larger windows, a wider aisle, more seats with space to stow luggage, dynamic passenger information displays, LED lighting and four rather than two bicycle hooks.

Delivery of the Series 2 cars will enable the Series 1 fleet to be refurbished for use on the future East Link route.

Network expansion

‘The introduction of the new Series 2 light rail vehicles comes as we enter three years of unprecedented system expansion’, said Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel. ‘By 2024 Link will nearly triple in size, making it easier than ever for people to avoid highways clogged with traffic.’

The 6·9 km Northgate Link extension is scheduled to open on October 2, providing a 14 min journey time from Northgate to central Seattle. Most of the route is in twin tunnels, with a 1·3 km elevated section including the Northgate stop.

‘With Northgate’s completion Sound Transit will enter an exciting period of opening major light rail extensions every year through 2024’, explained Keel.

‘This drumbeat of progress will extend service to Tacoma’s Hilltop in 2022, East King County in 2023 and Lynnwood and Federal Way in 2024. It will position us to keep building to complete voter-approved extensions to Tacoma, Everett, West Seattle, Ballard, DuPont and other destinations across the region.’