This week’s Sound Transit CEO newsletter contains an update on the work that Sound Transit is doing to mitigate Link noise.
A few months ago I told you about our plans to cut down the noise from Link light rail trains. (STB: see our previous coverage.)
Those plans included actually grinding the tracks to reduce train noise. I thought you’d be interested to know that the grinding was completed in the Rainier Valley in mid-December, and elsewhere on the line just before New Years Day. Although the grinding has reduced the high-frequency noise in many areas, there are some locations where it’s still present. We’ll measure noise levels again in early spring, after the grinding marks on the rails have worn smooth.
Another problem we’re working on is “wheel squeal” noise on curves, such as where trains enter and leave Mount Baker Station. In those areas we’re installing solar-powered machines that periodically dispense a dab of lubricant on the tracks. The track lubricators have been purchased and work is expected to begin in mid-to-late March. Work will take place overnight starting at 10 p.m. to minimize inconvenience to riders.
Finally, another noise problem in the Rainier Valley is the “ka-thunk” sounds created when a train goes through the crossover switches near S. Walden and S. Willow streets. A Sound Transit contractor will modify the two switch crossings so train wheels have a smoother running surface. Work will be scheduled between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. over eight weekends beginning in March. The project should take about two months.
We reported the first round of work late last year.