New Link Light Rail Service to Start July 18

Sound Transit light rail operators have begun real-time testing experience in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and on the entire light rail system in preparation for the July 18th start of Link light rail passenger service between Tukwila and downtown Seattle, Wash.

Over the past six months, King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit have tested and simulated join operations in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to ensure safe and reliable service for both systems. The two transit agencies carried out drills to test the system during late-night and weekend hours, when the tunnel currently is closed to passengers. Testing is now expanding into hours when the tunnel is open for bus service.

At the end of June, Metro will extend the operating hours in the tunnel to prepare for the light rail service that will begin in July, when trains will run 20 hours a day Monday through Saturday and 18 hours on Sundays.

Numerous safety features supported Sound Transit's work to retrofit the tunnel for joint operations, including a sophisticated signal system that controls when buses and trains can enter the tunnel and its stations. Also, ventilation was upgraded and a computerized system was installed so that staff in the Link Control Center can monitor all aspects of safety and operations throughout the 1.3-mile tunnel.