Hundreds enjoy historic first ride of Sound Transit's Sounder commuter trains

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More than 400 people became part of history riding the first-ever trip of Sound Transit's Sounder trains, and hundreds more toured the four passenger cars after the train's arrival at Seattle's King Street Station. "Sound Transit is bringing the vision of rail transit in central Puget Sound into a reality, which will enhance communities and quality of life throughout our region" Sound Transit Board Chair and Tacoma City Councilmember Paul Miller said.

The special demonstration ride between Tacoma and Seattle was the first of Sound Transit's Sounder train service, projected to offer rush hour service between Tacoma and Seattle in 2000 and extend the service north to Everett and south to Lakewood by 2001/2002. Sound Transit is moving forward with construction on stations along the 40-mile Tacoma to Seattle route, and has already broken ground on stations in Auburn, Sumner and Seattle.

Sporting Sound Transit's bold wave design of teal, green and blue, the first Sounder locomotives and four passenger cars arrived on schedule and under budget.

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. General Motors Electro-Motive Division high-performance clean diesel locomotives will power the trains. Passenger cars range from $1.7 - $1.8 million each, locomotives $2.3 million each.

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.