Sound Transit expands Sounder south service
Regional transit agency positions commuter rail service for continued growth
The Sound Transit board of directors today took a major step towards delivering the Sounder commuter rail expansions that voters approved in 2008 by authorizing the purchase of rights to four additional south line Sounder round trips.
The $185 million purchase agreement with Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway enables the regional transit agency to incrementally expand its popular commuter rail service from nine to thirteen round trips a day, with the first new round trip starting as soon as 2012. The expanded service will add four peak direction, peak hour trains to the Seattle-to-Tacoma Sounder schedule, with flexibility to run reverse commute and midday service based on ridership demand.
The easement rights for the four additional trains grant use of the Seattle-Tacoma railway in perpetuity.
“The expansion of Sounder service is a smart investment in our region’s transportation system that will pay dividends for generations to come,” said Sound Transit board chair and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. “Since it began service 10 years ago, Sounder has carried more than 14.5 million passengers, with more riders hopping on board as our region’s economy recovers and population centers continue to grow.”
“This is terrific news for south King and Pierce County commuters,” said Claudia Thomas, Sound Transit board member and Lakewood City Councilmember. “As we extend our Sounder railway from Tacoma to Lakewood, more riders will be able to take advantage of this needed transportation option.”
“These additional trains will go a long way toward building our capacity to deliver regional transit services to the growing cities south of Seattle,” said Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow. “Adding Sounder runs to our schedule will help improve the quality of life for south sound residents by giving them more choices for efficiently traveling up and down the congested Seattle-Tacoma corridor.”
The four perpetual easements purchased from Burlington Northern will expand Sounder service on a staggered schedule, with the first additional train beginning operation in July of 2012, followed by a second in the fall of 2014, a third in the summer of 2015, and a fourth the following year.
For more information, please go to http://www.soundtransit.org/documents/pdf/about/board/resolutions/2010/Reso2010-14.pdf .
Photo Courtesy of Railpicutures.net