SacRT purchases new low-floor light-rail vehicles

April 23, 2020
The new vehicles, to be purchased from local manufacturer Siemens, will benefit the city’s economy.

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) has issued a notice to proceed on the purchase of 20 low-floor light-rail vehicles from local manufacturer Siemens Mobility, Inc.

This is the first time in 20 years that SacRT has purchased new light-rail vehicles.

“We are committed to providing innovative mobility solutions in our region and these new low-floor light-rail vehicles are one step forward,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li. “The purchase of these new vehicles is long overdue and will begin the transition to a modern, low-floor fleet.”

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

SacRT was awarded $150 million in funding from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capitol Program and Proposition IA to modernize the light-rail fleet, including the purchase of the 20 low-floor light-rail trains, which will provide better accessibility for passengers with disabilities, bicycles and strollers. In addition, it will save SacRT money in high maintenance and repair costs that are associated with keeping light-rail cars in service past their 30-year useful life.

The 20 new trains will be manufactured by Siemens Mobility, Inc., at the Sacramento factory and the first vehicles are expected to be delivered in 2022. The contract, including the 20 trains, spare parts and tools, is approximately $100 million. The remaining funding will be used for the modernization of the stations and supporting infrastructure.

“This announcement is a win for Sacramento transit riders, our transit advocates including those in our disabled community, our neighbors employed at the Siemens manufacturing facility and the environment,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “Our region needs good news amidst this COVID-19 crisis; this investment by SacRT in modernized infrastructure to serve our economy and meet our carbon neutral goals is most welcome. I look forward to riding on the inaugural trip of our Sacramento-made train fleet in 2022.”

The SacRT Board of Directors voted to proceed with the contract, which includes the option to purchase up to 76 light-rail vehicles. SacRT says it continues to pursue all funding sources with the plan of exercising the option for all 76 light-rail vehicles.

“These new light-rail cars from the Siemens plant here in Sacramento are a huge leap forward for regional transit to improve accessibility and comfort for our riders from the disabled community, seniors, bicyclists and families with strollers,” said SacRT Board Chair and Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen. “As a growing region, the new, modern, low-floor cars will also help reduce traffic congestion and inspire new riders to get onboard.”

The S700 light-rail trains are the latest generation of light-rail vehicles from Siemens Mobility and feature low-level boarding at every doorway, spacious seating design and larger windows for better light and a better view. The vehicles feature improved ADA-accessibility with wider aisles to easily traverse into and around the car as well as built-in storage for luggage and bicycles. The electric powered vehicles are also emissions-free. The new light-rail vehicles will operate in conjunction with SacRT’s current fleet for a few years, as SacRT works on obtaining additional funding to replace all 97 light-rail vehicles. This is the first order of new light-rail vehicles since early 2000, in preparation of the first Blue Line light-rail extension to Meadowview.

“For all of our employees at our rail car factory in Sacramento, it means a lot to be able to provide Siemens vehicles for SacRT’s network and we are most grateful for the opportunity,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock, North America. “Our manufacturing facility on French Road in South Sacramento has been operating for more than 30 years, and it is great to be able to showcase our Made-in-Sacramento technology for the community that has supported us through our continuous growth and expansion.”