Sound Transit puts first Series 2 light-rail vehicles into service

May 17, 2021
The six new light-rail vehicles are part of a 152-car order, each equipped with improved passenger information systems and comfort features.

Sound Transit entered six of its new Series 2 light-rail vehicles into passenger service May 14. The Siemens-made Series 2 vehicles have larger windows, wider center aisles, more room to stow luggage, seating for 70 and double the bike hooks. In addition, each car is equipped with dynamic passenger information displays and LED lighting improvements.

"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."

Sound Transit is undergoing significant system expansion with its Northgate Link extension set to open Oct. 2, light-rail service to Bellevue in 2023 and service to Lynnwood, downtown Redmond and Federal Way in 2024.

"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. "By 2024 Link will nearly triple in size, making it easier than ever for people to avoid highways clogged with traffic."

Sound Transit initially ordered 122 new Series 2 light-rail vehicles from Siemens Mobility in 2016, followed by an additional 30 in 2017. The combined orders are valued at $642.5 million, and the 152 new light-rail vehicles will join Sound Transit’s fleet of 62 Series 1 vehicles, which were made by Kinkisharyo. Sound Transit explains the 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.

The first new vehicle arrived from the Sacramento, Calif., manufacturing facility in June 2019 and Sound Transit says it will continue to receive between one and three new Series 2 light-rail vehicles every month through 2024. The agency has received 41 vehicles in the 152-vehicle order.

Sound Transit says the first Series 2 vehicle underwent extensive commissioning and was put through a 1,000-mile burn-in test, but subsequent new vehicles will undergo local testing, as well as a 300-mile burn-in test.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.