62 days left until you can get to South 154th
62 days left until you can get to South 154th

As some of you are well aware of, starting today, Sound Transit will be ramping up to mock scheduled runs. This is the some of the most important testing for Sound Transit as they confirm what they can and can not run in terms of frequency.

What to expect today:

Trains will be testing from Stadium (Royal Brougham) to South 154th Station between 6am and 6pm. Trains will vary from single car trains to the full 4 car long trains. Trains will be running in the Beacon Hill Tunnel as well! After rush hour, testing will be expanded within the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) between 9am and 3pm. This will be ramped up in late June.

Seattle DOT will also be along the MLK segment to examine the timing between the trains and lights due to frequent complaints. I can attest that some signals definitely needs to be tweaked, which is what this testing is all about.

Several of us STB’ers will also be at International District Station to get the first train going into the tunnel around 8:45am. We will get on the next bus following the train to Westlake Station. We will have a review of how the trains and buses interact with each other.

What to do:

BE SAFE! Stop, Look, and LISTEN. Light Rail vehicles are extremely quiet. When trains are coming into each station, they will sound their bell to alert pedestrians and will also sound the bell to alert when they are departing.

Take pictures and send it over to us!

There is only 62 days remaining until opening day! Let’s make sure that we get the word out for people to be safe.

33 Replies to “Link Light-Rail Testing Update”

  1. IF someone wanted to catch the 1st train of the day, at its 1st stop, where would the infected ‘transit junkie’ stand, and at what time on opening day, after buying an opening day ticket (date stamped).
    I still have my sounder ticket.

    1. If it is handled like the opening of the Gold Line in Los Angeles in 2003, I would not be suprised if the TVM’s have their faces covered up by a metal plate or somesuch on opening weekend to prevent passengers from accidentally purchasing a ticket and then trying to obtain redress from ST later on. Opening weekend is going to be free, so the first ticket will not need to be sold until Oh-dark-thirty on Monday morning.

    2. I’m thinking a few choices: the terminals at Westlake and Tukwila International, or the first stations out of the O&M facility at SODO, Beacon Hill. Not sure about the time, start camping!

    3. I got told two different things from ST. The official one was “we still don’t know.”

  2. According to the Metro commute blog: The DSTT didn’t open today until 6:48 due to technical problems. It’s now open, so hope all goes well. I’m bringing a video camera this time.

  3. Can someone comment on why the testing process seems to take an inordinate amount of time from a transit lay person’s point of view? Do they have to hit a specific number of “test” hours? If so, why don’t we see them running more frequently? I can only imagine that the risk-averse culture spawned by potential litigation, political embarrassment that could be brought about by a mishap have something to do with it.

    1. This extensive testing is in many ways similar to what Boeing does with a new aircraft. As an example, 747 flew for the first time in February 1969; Pan Am’s first revenue flight was nearly a year later. When Todd Shipyard launches a new ferry for WSF, especially the first in a new series there were be several months of systems evaluation and crew training before the ferry enters service. New rail transit systems are not dissimilar.

  4. Here’s an update from the field:

    It looks like testing is cancelled today. I was in SODO this morning and stood by the tracks between Stadium and SODO stations. More than 10 minutes passed by without a train in sight. Not good. Then I took a bus downtown. As the bus turned off the busway I noticed that the jersey barriers were still on the tracks and no forklift nearby, 30 minutes before testing was supposed to begin. I met with Adam and (another) Andrew in the Tully’s by the station and went down to the northbound platform. Adam asked one of the people (a supervisor?) and they said testing was cancelled. Bummer.

      1. The Save our Valley crowd had posters that showed (and inferred in their propaganda) that huge long freight trains would be running down MLK. I recall clearly a poster with a large steam engine (complete with driving rods) on the front.

    1. I can’t imagine it any other way. So I hear that Valley METRO (Phoenix) Light Rail was crushload all day when it opened

    2. ST has a limited fleet, only large enough to operate service between Westlake and the Airport. In other words, on opening weekend, the longer the trains we operate, the longer the time between trains. (Look for mostly 2-car trains on opening weekend, maybe a few 3-car)

    3. With two-car trains, they’ll probably operate something close to five to six minute service on those days.

  5. Chris-

    The testing process takes so long because:

    -The tracks/electrical system need to be tested for 6 months before the first passenger sets foot on the train
    -Each train has a certain number of miles it needs to go before carrying passengers. But you don’t see them always running because of
    -Training requirements for operators so that everyone has the needed training before opening day.

    Hope that helps!

  6. 4 car consists will not be used in service until the University link is opened, since there is only room for 3 car consists in the Pine St. stub tunnel. A 4 car could be used but must turn back at Statium Station, perhaps for Seahawk games.

    First Train Monday, according to what I know now, and this may change, the first trip SB will be a sweep train, and carry no passengers to Tukwila, then carry passengers north. First train NB will do a sweep and will carry passengers to the DSTT, first stop SODO. Driver report times will be about 4:30a for both.

    1. Can we get a definitive answer on this? I’ve heard two car, three car, four car…then no, four car will only be when ULINK is up and running. Do we know for certain what the facts of the matter are…is there any statement from ST?

    2. The end of the Pine St. stub tunnel needs to be modified to receive the TBM that’s boring the tunnels from the Capitol Hill Station site. With those modifications in place, only 2 car consists will fit in the stub tunnel turnaround.

      1. Thanks ST, so you are saying that we will operate at half-capacity until the boring machine is “away”? How long does that take, a year?

      2. No, much longer. But stop, before you panic, we have no need for more than two cars for a long time. Sure, there are particular events where three or four would be nice, but daily service isn’t going to be packed full for years.

    3. I’ll find out where the first revenue station stop will occur on Monday, July 20, and will post here (I want to be on it too!)

    1. The funny thing was, the rear sign had “45th” on it =P

      I can upload that picture if anyone is interested

  7. Seattle P-I reports that a control system update Sunday night caused issues in the bus tunnel. Sound Transit hopes to begin simulated service today (Tuesday) between Tukwila and Stadium station, and inside the transit tunnel on Wednesday.

    I’ll still be down there to capture video of the trains in the morning.

Comments are closed.