US-based Sound Transit is set to unveil its new Operations and Maintenance Facility: East (OMF East) in Bellevue to maintain and accommodate light railcars for regional link expansions.

The new facility is a key component of the forthcoming link extensions to Northgate, Federal Way, Lynnwood, and Redmond.

With a team of 260 employees, OMF East will have the capacity to maintain, store, and deploy around 96 light rail vehicles.

It has already started to accommodate Siemens’ new Series 2 light rail vehicles and will continue to store the new trains as they will proceed to arrive until 2024.

The OMF East project construction received partial funding through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) with a US Department of Transportation loan.

A part of a full funding grant agreement (FFGA) under the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program was also used to fund the construction.

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The facility has been designed and constructed by Hensel Phelps Construction Company, which teamed up with the City of Bellevue on the master development plan entitlements.

Sound Transit board vice-chair and king county executive Dow Constantine said: “This critical element of our system will make it possible to connect the entire Puget Sound region with healthy, high-capacity transportation for generations to come.”

The OMF East features a cleaning and wash bay, around 300 poles supporting train power, storage for 1,300 essential items, 14 service bays and a rooftop 100kW solar array.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said: “This new base will allow us to triple our light rail fleet from 62 vehicles to 214, enabling the opening of light rail extensions to Northgate later this year, followed by Mercer Island, Bellevue, and the Bel-Red corridor in 2023, and Lynnwood, Federal Way, and downtown Redmond in 2024.”

Recently, Sound Transit introduced its first new Series 2 light rail vehicles for passenger service.