Sound Transit will add 152 new light vehicles to its expanding system by 2024, including a new route from SeaTac to Federal Way. The first of the new vehicles were entered into service in May. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Sound Transit will add 152 new light vehicles to its expanding system by 2024, including a new route from SeaTac to Federal Way. The first of the new vehicles were entered into service in May. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

First new Link light rail vehicles enter passenger service

New cars offer more bike racks, larger windows

The first of Sound Transit’s new Series 2 light rail vehicles entered passenger service earlier in May, giving passenger first-hand experience with new cars that will more than triple Sound Transit’s fleet as the agency moves toward the opening of the Northgate Link extension on Oct. 2.

Passengers riding the new vehicles will see several improvements in on-board systems and passenger experience over the current Series 1 light rail vehicles. Each of the new vehicles will provide 70 seats, with larger windows, a wider center-car aisle, more seats with space 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 lighting improvements.

“The introduction of the new Series 2 light rail vehicles comes as we enter three years of unprecedented system expansion,” said University Place Councilmember and Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel in a May 14 Sound Transit news release. “By 2024 Link will nearly triple in size, making it easier than ever for people to avoid highways clogged with traffic.”

“These new cars will increasingly become the mainstay of our Link light rail fleet, improving our riders’ experiences as service expands north to Northgate and Lynnwood, south to Federal Way and east to Bellevue and Redmond,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “These new vehicles will be how we meet passenger demand for the dramatically expanded network we will deliver over the next three years.”

A total of 152 new vehicles manufactured by Siemens Mobility in Sacramento, California will continue to be delivered and commissioned through 2024, joining Sound Transit’s initial fleet of 62 Kinkisharyo vehicles. The first Series 2 vehicle arrived in June 2019 and underwent extensive commissioning and a 1000-mile burn-in test. Subsequent vehicles are each undergoing local testing and 300 miles of burn-in. To date, 41 vehicles have been delivered to Sound Transit.

Sound Transit ordered 122 vehicles from Siemens in September 2016 and an additional 30 in April 2017. The contract for the two orders totaled $642.5 million.

Out-of-service testing of additional new vehicles will occur on a rolling basis as delivery and commissioning continues over the next few years.

Sound Transit’s 62-car Series 1 fleet will be retrofitted with an on-board system updated for new speed codes required for the future East Link line. The Series 1 vehicles will be swapped out of service for Series 2 vehicles as the new ones come online.

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