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New Link light rail trains enter passenger service

The inside of a Series 2 light rail vehicle. (Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)

The first of Sound Transit’s new Series 2 light rail vehicles have entered passenger service as of Friday.

These new cars will more than triple the fleet as the opening of the Northgate Link extension approaches on Oct. 2, 2021.

Light rail service to Northgate begins in October

The new vehicles include several improvements in on-board systems and passenger experience over the Series 1 vehicles, including 70 seats, larger windows, a wider center-car aisle, more seats with space to stow luggage, and twice as many bicycle hooks. Each car also has 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.”

There will be a total of 152 new vehicles manufactured by Siemens Mobility, which will continue to be delivered and commissioned through 2024. The contract totaled $642.5 million. The first Series 2 arrived in June 2019 and “underwent extensive commissioning and a 1000-mile burn-in test.” To date, Sound Transit says there have been 41 vehicles delivered to the agency. Testing of additional new vehicles will happen on a rolling basis as they are delivered and commissioned over the next few years.

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The current 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 for Series 2 as the new ones come online.

Video of the production of light rail vehicles is available online here.

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