Sound Transit has received the first of 152 previously ordered light-rail vehicles (LRVs) at its Link Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle.

The Siemens-manufactured vehicles will more than triple Sound Transit’s current fleet of 62 LRVs, assisting it to fulfil the requirements of an expanding rail network.

In September 2016, the agency placed an order of 122 LRVs with Siemens, followed by another contract of an additional 30 vehicles in April 2017. The contract is valued at $642.5m in total.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said: “The new vehicles are critical to meet ridership demand as we move forward aggressively in building our light-rail network.

“These new cars will become the backbone of the fleet serving Northgate, Lynnwood, Federal Way, Bellevue and Redmond in the next five years.”

The LRVs will feature several improvements over the current operating fleet. Each of the vehicles will have 74 seats, larger windows, a wider centre-car aisle and additional bike racks.

Every rail car will be equipped with LED lights and passenger information display systems for passenger convenience.

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Siemens is manufacturing the LRVs at its facility in Sacramento, California.  From now on, it is expected to deliver between one and three vehicles per month to 2024.

Once delivered, the LRVs will undergo extensive testing before entering commercial service.

The first cars are slated to begin passenger services early next year. Sound Transit plans to assign 40 of the new vehicles for the Northgate Link Extension, which is scheduled to open in 2021.