Here are some updates for you hungry light-railers.

Central Link:

The overhead wiring is progressing in the northbound Beacon Hill tunnel and connecting the system to the MLK and initial test segment. These items should be completed by the end of the year. As usual, once the wiring is finished, dead wire testing will follow before live testing through the tunnel will be allowed. Wiring has been completed in the southbound tunnel and crews are working to finish up connecting East Portal to Walden Street.

All LRV’s have arrived on the property but not all accepted. Once the equipment finishes burn-in and performance testing, they will be accepted by Sound Transit.

All MLK Stations are completed.

Full line testing will start next Spring (DTSS to South 154th Street)

Beacon Hill is still scheduled to open on time.

Airport Link:

Rail is completed up to the station. I originally thought it went into and through the station but it’s just outside of the station.

Ballast has been laid out along the Airport Expressway and has been tamped to spec.

OCS System will start installation sometime early next year.


Construction starts in November/December

16 Replies to “ST Link Update”

  1. Is there any word on what the fare will be from downtown to the airport? I have a 1.75 Pugetpass, and it has a SoundTransit logo on the back, will this cover it? My wife has a UPASS, will that work? Thanks

    1. UPass should work for any Sound Transit fare. It even covers the entire $4.75 maximum-distance Sounder ride. Don’t know exactly how much Central Link will cost to ride, though.

    2. The exact fare hasn’t been decided, but you can be certain that the UPASS will cover it. $1.75 Pugetpass will obviously depend on the final pricing. It will be honor system (i.e. no turnstiles) and the staff will likely recommend that the ride-free area be preserved for Link. I’m not sure if those with a pass will actually have to grab a receipt or just show their pass if asked by a fare inspector.

    1. The last I heard (which was a while ago) there won’t be. The floor-floor height of the existing garage more or less removed this as an option. However, despite what the anti-railers were saying, it’s really not a far walk – not much more than if you had parked in the garage.

    1. My understanding is that it is 1000 feet between the station and the terminal and that there will not be a moving walkway through the parking structure due to lack of funding.

      Unlike Metro and ST buses which pick up and drop off people at the south side of the airport by the international arrivals and departures terminal, ST Link Light Rail trains will be picking up and dropping off passengers at the north end which will be closer to the gates belonging to Alaska and United. As Alaska alone is responsible for 40% (or is it 60%) of the air traffic at SeaTac, this should be a considerable help to them to have Light Rail so close to their check in gates and baggage reclaim.


  2. Brian

    Do you know if there will be any elaborate and decorative portals at either end of the Beacon Hill tunnel?


  3. Can you expand on: “Ballast” “Airport Expressway” and “OCS System”? They are beyond my vocabulary (or at least in this context). If the rail is already to the station, then it seems like anything that would need tamping would already have been tamped.

    1. I’ll take a stab at this if no one minds.

      When they laid the ballasted track in SODO and in the south reach of MLK (south of Henderson street), they placed the track ballast (sharp edged crushed rock), set the concrete sleepers (rail ties) and set the track. At this point the track was anything but level and straight. The contractors then took a machine that went down the track, and lifted a section of the track slightly into the air, as several bars ran into and vibrated the ballast to set it. This was repeated several times over the length of the track, each time getting the rail closer to straight and level. By the end the ballast was fully locked in place by the tamping, and the sleepers were secured in place with a beautifuly set rail.

      OCS is an abreviation for Overhead Catenary System, the contact wire that runs above the tracks that the trains draw their power from. This is two wires set on top of each other. The top wire forms a catenary (parabolic curve) from structure to structure. The second wire, the contact wire, is hung from this curve so that it is level at a consistant height above the tracks. It is very similar to the way a suspension bridge works, with the cables being the catenary, and the bridge desk being the contact wire.

  4. Just rode a very, very full 73 express from the U-District downtown, after not being able to get on a very, very full 72 express that came by less than a minute earlier. I’ll be very curious to see how much of this demand from the Ave to downtown is absorbed by the U-Link station.

    With the Husky Stadium station on the opposite side of campus, I’m increasingly skeptical that U-Link will do much to relieve the overcrowding of U-District-to-downtown busses, at least until the Brooklyn/45th St. station opens.

    1. We had a discussion about Husky Stadium commute transfer a while back. Most areas served by the 71/72/73/74 have alternatives like the 65 or 68 serving UW campus so if you’re coming from Wedgwood or Lake City you could adjust to a different bus to Husky Stadium. If SDOT’s University Area Transportation Action Strategy (thanks ericn) provides HOV lanes for transit access to Husky Stadium on 25th Ave NE and NE Pacific St it will be very competitive on time.

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