By awarding Siemens Rail Systems a contract to modify and refurbish 21 light rail vehicles (LRV), the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) will add to its fleet at a fraction of the cost of new vehicles.
RT acquired the vehicles — originally built by Urban Transportation Development Corp. (UTDC) — from Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. The vehicles originally went into operation in 1987 and have been in storage since RT acquired them in 2003. They are now needed for RT's expanding system but need to be updated to meet operating requirements.
The refurbishment will add approximately 15 years of additional useful life to the vehicles, while new vehicles are typically built to last 30 years. Siemens will also modernize the vehicle's communications, event recorders and auxiliary power systems.
RT plans to use the refurbished light rail cars for future additional service on existing light rail lines. The LRVs are expected to boost Sacramento RT's fleet to enable it to run its first "limited stop express" on the Gold Line (Folsom/Sunrise line), planned for 2014. The agency also plans to use the refurbished cars to augment its fleet supporting the extension of the Blue Line to Cosumnes River College, which is set to open in 2015, and eventually express service on the Watt/Interstate 80 portion of the Blue Line as well.
The agency intends to slowly renew its fleet over that time with new, low-floor vehicles that offer easy boarding for people in wheelchairs or with bikes, strollers and bags.