The contract, which includes spare parts and maintenance, is worth $US 100m and includes an option for up to 72 vehicles.

SacRT was awarded $US 150m in federal funding to modernise the light rail fleet through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Programme and Proposition IA, with the remaining $US 50m to be used to modernise stations and supporting infrastructure.

The fleet will improve access for passengers with limited mobility, and those with bicycles and strollers. The new trains will also reduce the high maintenance and repair costs associated with keeping the legacy LRVs in service past their 30-year useful life.

The purchase is part of SacRT’s overall light rail modernisation plan, which also includes converting light rail stations to accommodate the new low-floor design and adding a passing loop at two locations to provide 15-minute frequency to Folsom line stations.

The LRVs will be manufactured at Siemens’ Sacramento facility, with the first vehicles expected to be delivered in 2022.

“We are committed to providing innovative mobility solutions in our region and these new low-floor LRVs are one step forward,” says SacRT general manager and CEO, Mr Henry Li. “The purchase of these new vehicles is long overdue and will begin the transition to a modern, low-floor fleet.”

Siemens’ S700 LRVs feature low-level boarding, spacious seating, and large windows. The new vehicles will operate in conjunction with SacRT’s existing fleet for a few years, as SacRT works to obtain additional funding to replace all 97 LRVs. SacRT says it is pursuing all funding sources with the goal of exercising the full option for 76 LRVs, in preparation for the first Blue Line light rail extension to Meadowview.

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