Ten years ago today, some 45,000 riders boarded Link light rail for the first time and celebrated a new era in Seattle’s transit history: the long-awaited start to a real rail transit system.
STB was there to cover every angle of the opening weekend (and the first days in revenue service), which are chronicled in loving detail with posts every few hours. There was number counting, a short postmortem, and plenty of photos and comments. There were also dozens of tweets on opening day, with thoughts ranging from porta-potty cleanliness to the fact that three-car trains were there to take passengers that day.
For those of us who moved to the city in the post-Link era, or didn’t become transit evangelists until then (like myself), a quick primer is available on Wikipedia, thanks to some research from yours truly. A lot of work went into making Link a reality, no thanks to the Seattle process and the many struggles of ST in its infancy. The Gray Lady of New York also went over some of the history behind opening day, which received A-section treatment.
Also worth reading is the live thread from opening day from The Seattle Times, and this before-and-after series from ST’s in-house blog featuring a few of the agency’s employees and their families. It’s especially nice to have some statistical comparisons to the Seattle of 2009, which had 140,000 fewer people and dirt-cheap housing, in hindsight.
Share your Link memories, whether they be from 2009 or in the years since, with us!