Sound Transit has been growing its Link light rail system from 20 miles in 2016 to 62 miles in the next few years, connecting more of Seattle and making it easier and faster for people to use the popular public transportation option. The regional transportation agency turned to Siemens Mobility for the 152 customized light rail vehicles (LRVs) it needed to complete the biggest transit expansion in the United States in recent years.
State-of-the-art LRV design enhances rider experienceThe first of Sound Transit’s new LRVs – Siemens Mobility’s innovative S700 model that was customized to meet all of Seattle’s needs – went into service in May 2021 as the agency entered three years of unprecedented system expansion and new lines opened in September 2021. Passengers are enjoying more seats in each car, more leg room, larger windows, a wider center-car aisle for easier movement between cars, more seats with luggage storage and four bicycle hooks, twice as many as before. The S700 meets all ADA accessibility requirements, with a wheelchair area that includes three fold-down seats to maximize space and flexibility. Car capacity goes from about 70 people if all passengers are seated to as much as 200 to 250 people if everyone is standing.
Latest information features keep passengers up to date and safeA highlight of the advanced passenger information system are the double-sided screens above the four doors on each side of the LRV. The screens display the next three stations and can be customized for rider alerts. A line map above each door includes new, easy-to-understand pictograms. Also, LED light strips on the doors indicate if they are opening/closing soon or already opened/closed. The light strips are tied to audio chimes designed to encourage people to squeeze in so that doors aren’t blocked.
Collaboration and ongoing support define S700 LRVsThe ability for the Sound Transit team to collaborate with the engineers designing its LRV at Siemens Mobility’s well-established manufacturing facility in Sacramento, CA, was a major reason the S700 model was selected. Agency staff and Siemens engineers worked closely throughout the design process to meet Sound Transit’s stringent requirements and passenger needs. One significant change was customizing the S700 to use 1,500 volts since the Link system’s overhead catenary lines were designed that way years ago. Siemens Mobility engineers also customized the S700 to eliminate ground vibrations as the LRV goes over the rail near buildings that house operations sensitive to such movement. Another selection factor was Siemens Mobility’s well-known customer support that’s available long after the two-year warranty ends for each LRV delivered. The customer service team is always ready to provide spare parts, tools, test equipment or other support to help transit agency staff do their own maintenance. If needed, Siemens Mobility also performs maintenance services.
Mobility leader keeps transit systems movingWith digitalization, Siemens Mobility is enabling mobility operators worldwide to make infrastructure intelligent, increase value sustainably over the entire lifecycle, enhance passenger experience and guarantee availability. You can rely on the proven partner who can keep your trains running with whatever it takes. In 2018, for example, Siemens Mobility provided the power infrastructure Sound Transit needed to expand two of its Link lines. This included supplying 13 traction power substations (TPSS), two medium voltage substations (MVSS) and one cross passage tunnel tie station, and then fully integrating them into the existing infrastructure.
Siemens Mobility engineers and our Sound Transit team brought an incredibly high level of dedication to delivering the best product that we can for the riders in Puget Sound.Tracy Reed Executive Project Director Sound Transit LRV Fleet Expansion Project