Sound Transit orders 122 new light rail vehicles
New fleet needed as Sound Transit 2 extensions open, ridership booms
Sound Transit today finalized an order for 122 new light rail vehicles to meet the needs of an expanding rail network amid booming ridership.
The new vehicles will be manufactured by Siemens Industry, Inc. in Sacramento, CA. The new vehicles feature a more spacious interior with more passenger room than the current fleet of 62 cars. Final capacities will be determined as the interior designs are finalized.
Along with more passenger room, the new vehicles will have more room for luggage to be stowed beneath seats and hooks to hang four bikes per vehicle. Current trains have hooks for two bikes per car.
Sound Transit needs to nearly triple the size of its current fleet as it expands the light rail network to the north, east and south over the next seven years, adding more than 30 miles of voter-approved extensions. The contract for the new vehicles is approximately $554 million.
The new fleet will begin arriving in 2019 for testing ahead of the light rail extension from the University of Washington to Northgate opening in 2021. By 2023, Sound Transit will operate nearly 50 miles of light rail lines extending to Lynnwood in the north, Bellevue and Redmond’s Overlake area to the east and the Kent/Des Moines area in the south. The extensions and new light rail vehicles are part of the 2008 voter-approved Sound Transit 2 expansion plan.
Light rail ridership has skyrocketed since Sound Transit opened two new stations in Seattle on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington last March. Link averaged an estimated 63,577 weekday riders in the second quarter of 2016, a 76 percent increase over the same period last year and a new record for Q2 weekday ridership.