Sound Transit to order 30 additional light rail vehicles

Apr 27, 2017

Vehicles will ensure sufficient fleet capacity for extensions to Federal Way and Redmond

The Sound Transit Board of Directors today approved an order for 30 additional light rail vehicles from Siemens Industry, Inc. The added vehicles, scheduled to arrive no later than 18 months after final delivery of a previous order placed last fall, will support the opening of Sound Transit's Link extension projects to Federal Way and downtown Redmond in 2024.

"With population and job growth booming across much of the Puget Sound region, we're acting now to bolster our light rail fleet so we can better serve the public and an expanding transit system," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. "Also, by buying now, Sound Transit can save money in the long term."

"Ordering more Link cars earlier than planned is just one example of how we're moving aggressively forward to build a light rail network that will serve up to 188 million riders a year by 2040," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "By the time pre-revenue testing begins in 2024 on the first two Link extensions approved by voters last November, we'll be ready."

The $131 million contract amendment with Siemens enables Sound Transit to exercise an option to procure additional low-floor light rail vehicles (LRVs) under an order placed last year. The first light rail vehicles from that order will be delivered in mid-2019, with subsequent vehicles arriving on a staggered schedule of two to three per month through the first quarter of 2024. As originally planned, forty vehicles will be delivered and tested in time for the Northgate Link Extension opening in 2021, with the remainder arriving in time for deployment when testing begins on the Redmond and South King projects.

Manufactured in Sacramento, CA, the new light rail vehicles will feature several improvements in on-board systems and passenger experience over the current fleet of 62 cars. Each of the new LRVs will provide 74 seats, with larger windows, extra standing room in the center aisle, more space under seats to stow luggage, and four bicycle hooks—twice as many as provided currently. Each car will come equipped with dynamic passenger information displays and LED destination signs will also be included.

The Sound Transit 3 plan included funding to purchase additional light rail vehicles. The new vehicles will ensure sufficient fleet capacity for service on the Federal Way and Redmond extensions and increase the total number of LRVs procured under this contract from 122 to 152 cars. The order will also allow the agency to take advantage of lower unit pricing options than would be available at a later date.

Sound Transit must triple the size of its current fleet as 94 miles of voter-approved extensions to its current light rail network are added over the next 24 years. By 2041, the agency will operate more than 116 miles of light rail lines to Lynnwood and Everett to the north, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Issaquah to the east, West Seattle Ballard to the west, and Federal Way, Fife and Tacoma to the south.

Light rail ridership has surged since Sound Transit opened three new stations last year in Seattle on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington's Husky Stadium and near Angle Lake in the City of SeaTac. Link averaged an estimated 65,125 weekday riders this February, an 81.5 percent jump compared to February last year.