Sound Transit awarded Siemens a $US 554m contract in September 2016 to supply 122 S70s as part of the Sound Transit 2 network expansion programme. An option for a further 30 vehicles was subsequently exercised in 2017, taking the total value of the order to $US 642.5m.

Assembly is being carried out at Siemens’ plant in Sacramento, California, and the first vehicle was delivered to Sound Transit’s Link Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle on June 6.

Siemens S70 Sound Transit interior
Photo: Sound Transit

The S70s will more than triple the size of Sound Transit’s LRV fleet, which currently comprises 62 vehicles supplied by Kinkisharyo.

Each S70 will seat 74 passengers and offers a number of improvements over the existing vehicles, including larger windows, a wider centre aisle, four bicycle hooks, dynamic passenger information displays and enhanced LED lighting.

Siemens will now deliver between one and three vehicles per month, with the final LRV due to arrive in Seattle in 2024. The first vehicle is expected to enter service early next year.

Forty new LRVs are required to serve the Northgate Link Extension when it opens in 2021. The network will also be extended to Bellevue in 2023, and to Lynnwood, Federal Way and downtown Redmond in 2024.

“The new vehicles are critical to meet ridership demand as we move forward aggressively in building our light rail network,” says Sound Transit CEO Mr Peter Rogoff. “These new cars will become the backbone of the fleet serving Northgate, Lynnwood, Federal Way, Bellevue and Redmond in the next five years.”