First set of Sounder commuter trains arrive in Seattle

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Sporting Sound Transit's bold wave design of teal, green and blue, the first Sounder locomotives and two passenger cars have arrived - under budget and on schedule - at rail yards south of downtown Seattle. The initial fleet of Sounder commuter trains will consist of 38 bi-level Bombardier (bomb-BARD-dee-eh) passenger cars featuring comfortable high-back cloth upholstered seats with cup holders, luggage racks, work tables, surge-protected outlets for computers and cell phones, restrooms and areas for wheelchairs and bicycles, and they will be powered by six General Motors Electro-Motive Division high-performance clean diesel locomotives.

Depending on the seating layout, the passenger cars will seat between 132 and 140 people. The first 18 cars delivered will be cab cars, featuring a remote driving compartment with identical locomotive console controls that allows the train to be driven in the opposite direction without having to turn the entire train around.

Thanks to careful and on-time management of the purchase contracts, nearly $2.2 million was saved from the original budgets for the passenger cars and locomotives. Costs for each passenger car ranged from $1.7 million for a coach car to $1.8 million for a cab car and locomotives about $2.3 million, not including sales tax.

Using existing Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railroad tracks, Sounder trains are projected to offer rush hour service between Tacoma and Seattle in 2000 and extended service north to Everett and south to Lakewood in 2001/2002.

Along with Sounder, Sound Transit is moving forward implementing Sound Move, the regional transit plan approved by voters in 1996 that includes Link light rail between SeaTac and the Northgate Transit Center by 2006 and a 1.6 mile downtown Tacoma Link line in 2001, and Regional Express service that includes 18 new limited-stop ST Express regional bus routes and numerous improvements to transit centers, park-and-ride lots and high-occupancy vehicle lanes throughout the region.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.