On Jan. 10, three S700 light rail vehicles from Siemens Mobility entered revenue service on Phoenix Valley Metro’s 28-mile line between northwest Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, Ariz.
The three LRVs, plus four more currently being tested at Valley Metro, are part of an 11-car order the agency placed with Siemens in 2017. The order included an option for up to 67 additional vehicles.
The new LRVs feature a large interior, LED lighting and heavy-duty air conditioning systems; a new front-end bumper, which is said to minimize collision impact and vehicle damage; and a wheel flange lubrication system to reduce noise on curved track.
Valley Metro in fall 2020 ordered 14 additional S700s, primarily for the South Central Extension/Downtown Hub, a 5.5-mile, eight-station line now under construction and scheduled to open in 2024 (see map below). The Federal Transit Administration in early 2021 signed a $529.8 million Full Funding Grant Agreement for the project under the Capital Investment Grants program.
Also under way and slated for 2024 completion is Northwest Extension Phase II, which will connect the light rail system from 19th and Dunlap avenues and extend it 1.6 miles to the former Metrocenter Mall area in Phoenix; it includes three stations. (Phase I of the project opened in 2016. It expanded Valley Metro light rail service 3.2 miles, running north on 19th Avenue from Montebello to Dunlap Avenue.)
Siemens reported that it will begin manufacturing the newest-order LRVs early next year; when finished, they will bring Valley Metro’s total number of Siemens vehicles to 25.
“Adding new train fleet is a very important part of our light rail system expansion for today and in the near future when two new extensions open in Phoenix,” Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith said. “We appreciate the strong partnership that we have with Siemens Mobility as they incorporate the vehicle safety and comfort features that we’ve prioritized on our system.”
“This vehicle was designed with passengers top of mind,” said Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Mobility in North America. “Together with Valley Metro, we’ve created an LRV that is both safe and convenient while providing the ultimate passenger experience to metro Phoenix riders.”