[UPDATE: New media added below.] No more getting off at Tukwila and hopping aboard a musty old connector shuttle to the airport. SeaTac/Airport Station officially opened this morning to the cheers and applause of many.
By all accounts, the opening of Airport Link was a success. Dignitaries, politicians, members of the press, laborers, and those involved with the project were all on hand to christen the new station this morning. Attendees were treated to refreshments and live music from the Highline High School jazz band. After cutting the ribbon from the East entrance at the International Blvd skybridge, a speaking ceremony was held where all the important project people had words to say about the milestone, with Mayor Nickels emceeing.
The Mayor took a brief swing at Gabriel Campanario of the Seattle Times for titling an Airport Link editorial as “Light rail reaches airport, no longer a train to nowhere,” apologetically considering Columbia City, Othello, Beacon Hill, and all the other stations from end to end. It wasn’t without irony, though, that the Mayor followed-up by saying that the train was already going somewhere, but now it’s going “somewhere better.”
Following the speaking ceremony, the second ribbon was cut at the West entrance from the parking garage skybridge. And it goes without saying that we all agree– the walk to the terminal is nothing. I had more trouble getting from the bus bays at the south end of the terminal to the north end. To honor the leaders that worked on the entire Central Link project, Joni Earl unveiled two bronze plaques dedicated to the Board and other influential persons, one to be placed at SeaTac Station, and the other at Mt. Baker Station, where the dedication ceremony of the initial segment was held.
After the second ribbon cutting, everyone trooped up to the platform to witness the first inbound train, which came in to break through the third ribbon shortly after 10am. The entire blog staff, with the exception of Brian, gathered to meet some regular commenters and pose for a quick photo op. By luck, John was able to join us via the first revenue train coming all the way from Westlake, without knowing it until reaching Tukwila.
Here is some media from the event: