UPDATE 1:13pm: Trains seem to be back in the tunnel, but only for testing. The evening commute will be bus only in the tunnel.

UPDATE 11:27am: Maybe not quite this soon. Link’s back to Stadium-Tukwila for the moment.

UPDATE 11:09am: “Soon” means soon. Link is running its complete route again.

Link trains are serving Stadium-Tukwila due to a power outage affecting some control equipment.

Buses are still running in the tunnel.  No word on when it’ll be fixed, other than “soon”.

61 Replies to “Power outage in the tunnel”

  1. Good opportuntity to try out those “Do this when X happens” operating procedures.

  2. That was fast. Another feature of LINK not getting much press, the extra tracks at Ranier Beach Station, and Stadium Station come in handy.

  3. So Does this take a couple of trains out of circulation and send them back to the Maint facility to Idle durring the “Outage” or do they keep the current compliment of trains running, and compress the spacing of the trains durring the “Outage” dropping froma 10 to 9 minute headway?

    I assume that “Central Dispatch” for Link is at the Maintenance facility, are the busses that enter the tunnel also controlled from there as well, or are they ran from elsewhere? (if elsewhere, how are they (or are they coordinated)?

    1. The trains and buses are controlled from the same building in 2 rooms next to each other, next to Stadium Station.

    2. The buses have radios that can listen to (and transmit on) Link’s “Mainline OPS 1” which is the main channel that the train operators are listening to. You can listen to it any time here (click on “Sound Transit”)

  4. This is being reported on by the Times. I can already imagine the comments section being filled with all sorts of anti-rail rhetoric.

    1. I got some advice for those anti-railers. Before they say their usual rhetoric, ride the train if they can. They might have noticed the redundancy built into the system. Also, that they can transfer from the train to the bus at Stadium Station as well. Then again, it might hurt their case if they rode it.

  5. You know when people (like me) talked about “Seattle is growing up?” Yup, this is part of it. Big cities with rapid transit around the nation face service interruptions all the time. For now, these problems are new so they will get special attention in the media, and naysayers will jump for joy, but hopefully the problems will be well managed (it appears this one was REALLY well managed) and people will adapt. Hopefully interruptions won’t happen to often. I’m glad Sound Transit adapted quickly.

    I certainly learned something.: I’ve been frustrated and worried about bus/train delays in the DSTT since Monday. But now it appears there is a plus about interaction. It means people kept moving through the tunnel even when trains had to stop at Stadium station. That’s cool. I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.

  6. Sound like the power is back on in the tunnel, but if SCADA is down, they’ll keep the LRVs out until it’s up and running.

  7. I was on the train this morning and had to get off at Stadium station. It was pretty easy to hop on a bus. Sound Transit had one or two people at each station to tell the bus drivers to cautiously continue past the red lights. The irony is that just beforehand I was talking to a lady who was taking the train for the first time saying how smooothly it had been running.

  8. My horror story is getting caught in an MTA system cock-up at Queensboro Plaza during rush hour.

    1. I’m coming out to Seattle in September from New York. Can you tell me which subway I get from Queensboro Plaza to Seattle. It would sure be a lot cheaper to use my Metro Card

      1. I don’t think Amtrak takes MetroCard.

        When I was flying back to Seattle, the plane wouldn’t let me swipe my MetroCard for a free complimentary “oh man, you didn’t rent a car, that’s awesome” drink, either.

        What did the MTA do with all my money, then?!

  9. 1:07 PM According to radio (which Tim linked to): trains are slowly entering IDS (at 10 MPH to play it safe)

      1. The signaling system is still messed up – LCC is telling buses to treat red lights as stop-and-proceed.

  10. Service suspended again.

    I’m not having such a good feeling about LRT service in Seattle anymore.

      1. No, symptomatic, it seems, of Metro’s regard for Sound Transit and the maintenance of the transit tunnel.

  11. as of 3pm, trains still not running in the tunnel…had to ride the 194 to stadium station. it’s stop and go after leaving stadium station probly for changing tracks and now stopped after leaving sodo station. looks like about 10 min delay after having boarded at stadium. people are quietly and passively frustrated in true seattle fashion. sound transit has a good plenty of folks helping people

  12. So I sat on the Light Rail at Stadium Station about 11:30am today. It was horrible, poorly managed since there was no announcement and our train sat for 5 minutes. Some person from SoundTransit said this train is now southbound, not going to the tunnel. What a shocker! The lightboards have no real-time information and this is terrible!

  13. It was only until around 2 pm when Metro began putting Rider Alert boards on DSTT platforms and an automated audio message on the electronic boards began to play saying “Sound Transit trains are not running in the tunnel. please take a bus and board trains at Stadium Station.”

      1. Normally, I’d say “the system has barely been open”, but how long has this outage lasted?

        This is pathetic.

      2. I have to agree. I’m a HUGE supporter of light rail, but aren’t there sufficient redundancy systems built-in to prevent this sort of thing? If not, why not?

      3. This isn’t the first time the downtown tunnel had problems. The DSTT has had a number of problems since it reopened in 2007. Computer glitches, false fire alarms, power failures, etc.

      4. One time I was on a 72 northbound at Pioneer Square. A fire alarm was going off. The driver told us all to get out and go to the street level, then he proceeded with no passengers. Meanwhile, I sprinted up 3rd and got back on the same bus at University Street, where there was no alarm.

      5. I once needed the SFD to evacuate me when an alarm was sounding in Westlake Station

  14. “Continuing through this evening’s commute, light rail service will be limited to stations south of downtown Seattle, while crews work to resolve issues with the signal system in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.”

  15. Bah! (Humbug?)

    Gonna take a 545 into Downtown after work (520 bridge…the horror! ::shutters::) to see all the fun

    1. I’d take that inconvenience of transferring bus rail over suffering in 520 traffic (and stalled vehicles) any day. If I could only afford it.

      1. Once East Link opens, I’m going to buy me a house on Bellevue Way right next to a station.

  16. ST Web site: “Central Link light rail — Service Suspended” is on the front page. Only upon following the link do we find out that part of the service is suspended. “Service truncated?”

  17. Wow, my evening commute on Link was really weird and bad. Of course, I had to board at Stadium. Then the train stopped three times on the way to SODO for no discernible reason. There were no PA announcements for station arrivals. And, to top it off, the train had a weird creaking in the under-carriage that made conversation difficult.

    1. When I took Link for the first time the other day, while traveling south, right around the BAC, the train came to a complete stop for about 20 seconds. Not sure why.

      1. The train operator thought Boeing Access Road Station existed. Or waited for a proceed signal because your train caught up with the block that had the train ahead.

      2. I see. Thank you. And I meant the BAR, not the BAC. BAC was the old Bellevue Athletic Club, which is now called the Bellevue Club, which East Link will be traveling by.

      3. Yesterday, I was having lunch late afternoon in Columbia City and saw a southbound train 2 minutes behind the previous one. That could’ve been yours!

      4. If the train operator violates the speed limit by more than 3 mph, the train will come to a complete stop. That may have happened.

  18. I sure hope they didn’t use refurbished parts for the train traffic control in DSTT.

    1. One more thing to add. I’m beginning to worry about putting light rail line on a floating bridge because it has NEVER been done before and I’m concerned about the tracks with expansion joints of the bridge which can expand or contract by 5 feet in difference depending on weather, water conditions, etc.

      1. Who else could possibly have done it previously? Seattle does floating bridge firsts. There are certainly tracks with expansion joints on other types of structures in the world.

  19. The rider alert is taken down. DSTT Trains resumed?

    And yes, I decided to scratch my ride on the 545 (dinner of course)

  20. Scratch my last comment: the alert is still there

    What a way to welcome light rail

    1. Well, trains are running through the tunnel again but the alerts haven’t been updated to reflect that. I just got off a train at Pioneer Square but http://www.soundtransit.org/Riding-Sound-Transit/Rider-Alerts/Loss-of-Signal.xml still says service is suspended. I also tried calling the toll-free rider info number and it gives options for Sounder, Tacoma Link and Express Bus alerts but nothing for Central Link.

      Needless to say, I was pleased to be able to take the train into downtown but the lack of communication is a little surprising.

  21. GE Transportation issued a press release on Seattle light rail’s opening day July 18 in which they described the signaling system they built for Sound Transit as follows:

    “GE Transportation was selected to provide and install an integrated and cost-effective communications and train control solution across the 14.2-mile route, consisting of a SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system that supervises critical fire detection, security, and ventilation systems. GE’s solution also includes an operations control center system, station messaging signs, public address system, fiber optic network, radio network, train movement detection, train traffic safety interlocking systems, power switch machines, train signals, grade crossing control equipment, train-to-trackside communications, and track-to-vehicle speed limit communications. GE’s integrated solution spans five street-level, two elevated and five underground stations. In the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT), the GE system will manage both train and bus traffic, which share lanes in the dual-use tunnel.”


    The release is titled, “GE Transportation Completes $80 Million Project with Sound Transit in Seattle: Five-year Train Control Signaling and Communications Project Enables Seattle-area Riders to Travel Safely and Efficiently”

    There are some GE Transportation contact names and phone numbers at the bottom of the press release.

    I hope ST and/or Metro provide a full explanation of what happened today.

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