Eric, Bejan, Martin and I are riding Link all day! I started at Westlake, then met Bejan and Eric at Beacon Hill to check out the amazing public art. The deep sea creatures in the stations are beautiful, and be sure to have a look at the bubbles in the wall across from the elevator! You can’t miss them. Surface level at Beacon Hill is also nice, the station plaza has wonderful bamboo and some seating.

We had lunch at the Columbia City Ale House (remember the meetups we’ve had there?) and we’re heading back out to zoom down to Tukwila and see some of the other stations.

We also tried out the ticket vending machines. While Link is free this weekend, I was still able to add money easily to my ORCA, and you can buy them at TVMs as well!

Be sure to come out today! The lines aren’t bad, everyone seems to be loving the train, and you’ll probably run into someone you know! We’ll post more later.

25 Replies to “Riding the Rails All Day”

  1. Woohoo! I just got back from a roundtrip to Tukwila, and that was a lot of fun.

    Thoughts:
    * The recorded announcements are a little weird. Do you really need to say “station” every time? And “doors on my right” makes no sense. Doors what on your right? Where are you? I think Chicago gets it right with “doors open on the right.”
    * The elevated segment west of the Beacon Hill tunnel has a spectacular view of the skyline. It’s a great welcome to visitors arriving from the airport.
    * I can’t count the number of times I heard people say things like “Seattle is a real city now.”

    1. On my ride from Tukwila to Westlake around 11:45a, I didn’t hear any of the “Doors on my right” announcements. Only most stop announcements twice.

      1. They’re working on that. Some of the trains had missing announcements.

      2. The train I was on this morning (supposedly only the second to leave Westlake) was announcing one stop off in the tunnel, then there were no announcements the rest of the run. The trains I rode later were spot-on. How does that work – is it GPS-based, or does the operator control which announcement is played?

      3. According to some ST person I talked to today (I talked to so many people at the stations, so I really don’t remember who), the recordings are played based on mileage, but the operator needs to press a button or two to reset it and start it at the right point. If s/he forgets to and starts it late, it will be that far behind for the entire trip.

    2. Don’t complain…MAX in Portland has all announcements in English AND Spanish. I can still remember “puertas a mi derecha” every 2 minutes.

      1. I was saying that all day today, I guess I’m pretty used to MAX so ours just didn’t sound right.

    3. “Her” is the train. “She” is looking in the direction that she’s moving. If it just said “the right” then that would mean something different depending on where you’re sitting.

    4. I think that announcements like “now approaching ___ station, doors will open on the right/left” would work.

  2. “Seattle is a real city now” – I mus have heard that twenty times or more this morning, too.

    The Beacon Hill station is fabulous – go, see, spend time!

  3. * I too was thinking about the “my” in “doors on my right” earlier. Is “my” referring to a female ghost driver? Or is she the entire train?

    It kinda makes sense that it doesn’t say “*the* right” since left/right depends on which way you are facing (and you could be facing either direction while sitting on the car).

    * I’m so used to seeing the Seattle skyline in a certain way from the 194 back to Seattle that I’m still not sure how I’ll feel about it seeing it via Link whenever I return to Seattle (via plane). There never seemed to be a good opportunity to view the Seattle skyline. Link does have nice views, they just conflict with my sense of place and movement. Also, on the 194 you can look out the front window, you can’t on link. What would be really nice would be a flat panel monitor installed outside the operator’s box. And then it would display the camera feed pointing out the front. I know few would probably watch such a monitor since they can stare outside, but it nevertheless would be cool. Going through a tunnel doesn’t quite feel the same when you can’t look out directly forwards.

    * I would prefer some different text on the scrolling LED board inside the cars. “… The next station is mount baker station” – the only info I need is “next: mount baker” or “next: mount baker station.” Yes, this is a minor thing, but in trying to take a photo of LED boards I noticed how I had to wait for the station name to reappear. I like I like the approach that the seatac mini subway uses.

    1. * I too was thinking about the “my” in “doors on my right” earlier. Is “my” referring to a female ghost driver? Or is she the entire train?

      My entire car on the way back from the Tukwila station actually had a discussion about this. Since we saw the driver when he got on, we decided it must be the train itself. So apparently trains are like boats, and are all female?

      1. I had an idea that would clear up this whole debate: Paint the doors on one side red and the other side blue (on the inside). Thus, the announcement can be made “International District/Chinatown Station. Red doors.” It’s instantly clear to all which side has red doors.

    2. You can look through the window in the operator’s door to get a view out the front of the train, but the window is tinted.

  4. Did the historic area of Columbia City (the street where the pub is located) attract many riders from the nearby station?

    1. I went over to Jones Barbecue and saw some people around with light rail stickers. A few people asked me about my ride and how it was.

    2. My friend and I that were riding the system together on Saturday had lunch there. We had lunch at Tutta Bella and then drinks at Columbia City Ale House. There was also a group of volunteers eating at Tutta Bella while we were there.

  5. I had fun riding the light rail and we were the first group of people leaving Westlake at 10 AM. :) It wasn’t crowded at the time but when we returned back from Southcenter mall…the trains were packed.

    I saw the cool effect when you go thru the Beacon Hill tunnel, if you look carefully you can see it show light showing of a playing cards, which is cool! I really love the Beacon Hill station, it looks awesome!

  6. I rode it from 8:30am to 7:30am with just a 30 minute break for lunch and an hour break to volunteer with TCC. It’s awesome! My favorite station by far was the Beacon Hill Station. The platform level is incredible, it’s the coolest looking station I’ve ever seen anywhere.

  7. One thing our group was critiquing was the ‘doors closing chime’. In our opinion the chime doesn’t give enough notice before the doors close. By the time you hear it, it’s too late. In many Asian cities, there is usually a tone (or a melody even) for a few seconds before the doors close so whoever on the platform knows if they are going to make it or not.

    1. Totally agree with you, Oran. Chicago’s :CTA has a sequence that works well:

      1. “Ding dong” chime.
      2. Announcement: “Doors closing.”
      3. Pause (about 2 seconds)
      4. Doors close.

  8. I was wondering if anyone experience delays in the Rainier Valley – on my last trip north through the valley (around 7:15) we came to a very abrupt stop just north of the Othello station – it was abrupt enough that people thought that maybe there was an obstruction or accident ahead. After that, we stopped 3 more times before reaching Columbia City station. The total time between the two stations was close to 10 minutes. Any thoughts?

    1. If you have time during light rail operation hours with your multi-media computer, listen to one available channel of King County Metro’s radio communication with light rail operators at http://www.northwestradio.net/live/soundtransit.asx .

      On my computer this URL loads successfully, sometimes, into Windows Media Player. There is a lot of white noise in between bursts of talking. It’s quite an education about how much the central control center knows about the location of the trains.

    2. Probably stoplights. We waited for a couple. I couldn’t see the red light out the front window like on the bus, so it was a little confusing.

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