Sound Transit unveiled the first of five new vehicles supporting the Hilltop Tacoma Link extension, which will bring light rail from downtown Tacoma to the Stadium business district and Hilltop neighborhood.
The five new vehicles are part of a $26.5 million contract with Brookville Equipment Corporation that will more than double the existing fleet.
Each of the 66-foot-long cars is designed to carry more than 100 passengers. The eight-foot-wide car has seating for up to 26 passengers with accessibility seating for passengers with bikes and wheelchairs.
The 2.4-mile Hilltop extension includes one relocated station and six new stations. Passengers will have access to Wright Park and medical facilities.
“The extension of Tacoma Link to the Hilltop will transform how folks are able to get around the city,” said Kent Keel, Sound Transit board chair. “People can leave their cars at home with greater access to the T Line, Sounder commuter trains and ST Express buses. I’m looking forward to being on the first train when we open in 2023.”
The project also included an expansion of Sound Transit’s operations and maintenance Facility in Tacoma.
“It is exciting to see this new line nearing completion,” said Sound Transit Boardmember and Tacoma City Councilmember Kristina Walker. “The expansion of Tacoma Link brings with it 30 additional living-wage jobs for operating and maintaining the system. That, along with increasing customer access to dozens of small businesses, is just a small part of the economic benefit that the city will experience when we open.”
Hilltop Tacoma Link is scheduled to open for service in the first quarter of 2023.
“The addition of these new cars is particularly meaningful for us, since Tacoma Link was Sound Transit’s first light rail line when it opened in 2003,” said Sound Transit Deputy CEO Kimberly Farley. “Here we are nearly 20 years later, marking its success with this exciting extension before us.”