Seattle's Link Light Rail - First Trip





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Published on Jul 21, 2009

Our first trip on Link - Seattle's new light rail system. This trip was on July 21, 2009, the second day of operation. This first line goes from Westlake Station in downtown Seattle to Tukwila/International Blvd. Station - a distance of about 14 miles. By the end of 2009, trains will continue on to SeaTac airport. The trip currently takes 33 minutes, and includes 12 stations. Four of the stations are underground in the Downtown Transit Tunnel. One station, Beacon Hill, is 160 feet below ground in a deep tunnel. Five stations are at grade level, and two are elevated. Trains run every 6 to 8 minutes during commute hours, and every 10 minutes during the rest of the day.

I didn't realize that it would be so difficult to make a good video of this trip, but it was! This video is terribly disjointed. Our trip started at the Chinatown Station in the Transit Tunnel, and went north to Westlake Station. We crossed over to the other side of the station and took a south-bound train to the Tukwila Station. From there, we took a north-bound train back to the Chinatown Station.

This first line, Central Line, is the first of several to come over the next couple of decades. Tunnels are currently being bored to extend the Central Line north to the University of Washington. I believe that this will be completed in about 2014. Although I won't live to see it, there will eventually be trains to the Eastside, crossing Lake Washington on one of the floating bridges.

The system is long overdue, postponed by decades of political indecision, but it's a good start.

Update December 25, 2009: The extension to SeaTac airport was opened on December 19, 2009. The SeaTac station, the 13th to be opened, is an elevated station. The walkway from the station to the airport terminals is about 1/4 mile. The 16 mile trip from downtown Seattle to SeaTac takes 37 minutes.

The Central Line will also be expanded southward, eventually reaching Tacoma. The elevated route will be extended, and the first station south of the airport will be at S. 200th and International Blvd. This station will probably be opened before the northern extension as that extension requires extensive tunnel boring.


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