US-based Sound Transit has introduced its first new Series 2 light rail vehicles (LRVs) for passenger service.

With the opening of the Northgate Link extension on 2 October, these new railcars will more than triple Sound Transit’s fleet size.

Compared with the present Series 1 LRVs, the new vehicles will feature numerous improvements in onboard systems, passenger information displays and LED lighting.

Each railcar will offer nearly 70 seats and have larger windows, a wider centre-car aisle, and more luggage space.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said: “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.

“These new vehicles will be how we meet passenger demand for the dramatically expanded network we will deliver over the next three years.”

The new LRVs have been manufactured by Siemens Mobility in Sacramento, California, and will join Sound Transit’s initial fleet of 62 Kinkisharyo vehicles.

Sound Transit board chair Kent Keel said: “The introduction of the new Series 2 light rail vehicles comes as we enter three years of unprecedented system expansion. By 2024 Link will nearly triple in size, making it easier than ever for people to avoid highways clogged with traffic.”

In June 2019, the first Series 2 vehicle was supplied that underwent a 1,000-mile burn-in test, along with extensive commissioning.

Sound Transit will receive around 152 new vehicles by 2024. As of now, it has received around 41 vehicles.

In September 2016, the company placed the order for 122 vehicles with Siemens, with an additional order for 30 railcars in April 2017.

The combined value of both orders was nearly $642.5m.

Over the next few years, Sound Transit will conduct out-of-service testing of additional new vehicles on a rolling basis.

For the upcoming East Link line, the 62-car Series 1 fleet will be retrofitted with an onboard system.

With the delivery of Series 2 vehicles, the Series 1 vehicles will eventually be removed from service.