Updated Capitol Hill Station signage

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had real-time arrival for Link. ST’s John Gallagher says that it’s because Northgate testing doesn’t conform to the schedule, and the software isn’t flexible enough to accommodate that.

Next train times should be back on October 2nd — and more accurate, as the end-of-the-line problems move from Capitol Hill to Roosevelt.

28 Replies to “Where’s real time arrival?”

  1. I noticed that the posted detailed timetables were blank when I rode Link a few days ago. I assumed that new ones were coming by opening day.

    And I’m so happy that we are a mere 12 days away!

  2. This is the best news ever! It means Link run-through testing and the opening of NG-Link is just days away! Under 2 weeks now and counting (thank gawd CommuteSeattle has a countdown clock)

    Excellent, excellent news.

  3. It’s unfortunate that the Oct 2 changes are being implemented cold-turkey. Unlike past openings and bus changes, there was an overlap of old & new service which gave riders the chance to test things out.

    This time around (perhaps due to COVID?), there are no inaugural events. And major bus changes are going to occur at 5a on Saturday when customer service wont be open to accommodate questions.

    1. You’re kidding, right? It’s the same as any other LR extension opening. It is closed one day, open the next. And they schedule the opening on a Saturday so as not to have too many people on the first Monday of regular ops.

      Or are you talking about Metro restructuring on the same day as LR opening? Sorry, that is on Metro. They could have waited. And if they muff the restructure, then that is also on Metro.

      As far as no party, wrong again! I saw a flyer stapled to a post at Roosevelt station announcing a street party. Unfortunately the date was in error, so I’m not sure what day it will be. And very low key.

      And per an official party, Earl was a Coug, and nobody parties like a Coug. But she was darn good and deserved to party once in awhile.

      Rogoff? I don’t think he can spell party.

      1. Yes, Link Always opened on a Saturday. But as far as the major bus changes, they were always delayed a week to provide customers a chance of getting used to rail.

        And it it doesn’t help that ST and CT are changing simultaneously too. It would be helpful for people to hold off on the bus changes at least a week for a soft introduction and familiarization.

        Rater, all of this is happening cold turkey and when customer service isn’t open to answer questions.

    2. I’m pretty sure they did the same thing with past Link-based restructures. For example, the day they opened UW Link, there were no longer all those UW to downtown express buses. It is an interesting choice. Metro could wait a while, and see how people are adapting to Link. My guess is they figured they would truncate routes anyway, and assumed that keeping the old routes for a while would be more painful.

      1. When UW Link opened, there was a gap of about a week between when the train opened and when the bus routes changed over.

        This time, they didn’t do that. Everything is changing all at once.

      2. @asdf,

        You are correct. Normally metro allows a few, or several, weeks between the opening of new Link service and the accompanying bus restructure. This is not a problem as the new LR service represents new capability that is not dependent on the bus restructure,

        This time? Not so much. Metro is restructuring on the very day that the new LR service opens.

        Why? I don’t know. Ask Metro if you want a definitive answer, but I suspect that over the years they have developed confidence that ST will hit their promised date. Let’s hope so!

        11 days and counting!

      3. I went up to the San Juans today. As the Amtrak bus passed Northgate there was a 4 car siemens train departing the station going south.

        So the trains seem to be running ok.

      4. @Glenn in that other city,

        They are doing full operational simulation, have been for awhile now. They kick the passengers off at UW Station and then proceed the rest of the way exactly as if they have passengers on board. Just like it was in real operation.

        10 days, 16 hours, and 29 minutes until the opening.

      5. That’s a good point. If ST misses the October 2nd opening, even by one day, Metro will probably have no choice at this point but to continue to run the new schedules anyway. This would be extremely painful for riders – far, far worse than having a one-day window with the new Link stations open under the old bus network. For instance, with the 41 gone, I don’t think Northgate even has a one-seat bus ride to downtown anymore – you’d have to do a transfer between the slow 67 and the also-slow 70.

        This also begs the question as to what time of day on October 2nd the new Link stations actually open. Will people traveling from Northgate to downtown before 10 AM have no 41 and no Link either? I hope not.

        All I can is, the new Link stations had better be open the morning of October 2nd at the start of service, as advertised, or it’s going to get quite ugly for a lot of people.

      6. Fall service changes are usually in September. Metro isn’t going early – Sound Transit is going late. IIRC, they hinted was a sports event related thing, but would presumably have known earlier than this Spring if that were the real reason. More likely, they’re mitigating the risk of not having enough vehicles to run the full complement of trains on Day One. The delivery and testing of the new cars seems to have gone down to the wire.

      7. It has varied. I expect the Metro preference has been for bus and Link changes to be simultaneous. In July 2009, ST opened the initial segment in between the June and September service changes. The Metro service changes are tied to union bids. The airport station was opened in December or so; the Metro changes were at the February service change. The U Link service changes were simultaneous; Metro delayed the bus changes to allow ST enough time. In fall 2021, Metro is delaying its service change to be simultaneous with ST Link. ST had some issue getting the fleet. For bus capital changes, Metro and ST have implemented them at regular service changes (e.g., new Redmond, Kirkland, Totem Lake TC).

      8. +1 @asdf2.

        If Link can’t open on time, the bus network would be a disaster. I hope Metro has a contingency plan. It could do the restucture if; e.g., it keeps an extra 41 running a little longer. The northeast Seattle routes that are moving away from UW Station would also be an issue. For U-Link Metro saturated the UDistrict-UW station gap with a bus every couple minutes, but that has deteriorated in the covid reductions. There may be other neighborhoods that are similarly orphaned without Northgate Link.

        Since both Link and the 522 and 51x are Sound Transit, it could just keep them running as is until Northgate Link opens.

        But I don’t expect Link to be delayed. That’s why the track has been tested for nine months with pseudo-real train runs. If anything was a blocker it would have been revealed by now. Any remaining problems would be in the stations, real-time displays, or TVMs. Even if one station entrance doesn’t function I imagine the others will; I can’t think of much that would close a station that wouldn’t have been noticed yet.

        Is the I-5 ped bridge at Northgate open yet?

      9. The fact that offices are still closed also gives some wiggle room, because the huge peak-hour ridership spike hasn’t returned yet. It’s just a moderate increase, which doesn’t require the tons of peak express buses and extra frequency on the all-day routes.

      10. re: “The delivery and testing of the new cars”, I have yet to see any rolling stock in the OMF East facility. This was completed months ago. The only thing I’ve seen on wheels are a bunch of police vehicles which it looks like storage of surplus equipment.

        Are the delays in testing because of an operator shortage?

      11. For instance, I see the 402, 415, 510, 511, and 545 downtown in the afternoon and they’re not packed, nor are there a hundred people standing at bus stops for them.

      12. Re: the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge
        From: Seattle’s Transportation Dept: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/bridges-stairs-and-other-structures/bridges/northgate-pedestrian-and-bicycle-bridge

        “We’re excited to invite you to our grand opening celebration of the John Lewis Memorial Bridge (Northgate Ped/Bike Bridge) on Saturday, October 2!

        What to expect
        We will be hosting a series of speakers at the west end of the bridge starting at 10 AM, followed by a ribbon cutting and community-led walk, roll, and bike ride towards Sound Transit’s new Link light rail station. With Link light rail service also beginning at the Northgate Station on October 2, we encourage you to try out the new transit options before or after our grand opening event.

        We hope you’ll join us to recognize all those who have made this project possible!

        Saturday, October 2
        10 AM to noon
        On the west side of the John Lewis Memorial Bridge, in the North Lot at North Seattle College (click here for directions)

        Getting there
        Walking, biking, or using public transportation is strongly recommended. Sound Transit’s Link light rail begins operating on October 2. You can learn more about Sound Transit’s newest stations by visiting northgatelink.com. Metro routes also serve this location, and you can plan your trip by visiting tripplanner.kingcounty.gov. We’ll also have plenty of bike parking so try out a route using neighborhood greenways and protected bike lanes. Limited car parking will be available in the North Lot at North Seattle College.”

      13. @Bernie
        OMF East isn’t needed to service Northgate. If ST is just barely having enough fleet commissioned to service Northgate, then it follows that OMF E is empty because they are still working through filling up OMF-C with the new fleet.

        Eventually (in a few months?) there will be enough Series 2 vehicles that ST start trucking train cars over to OMF-E in preparation for service East Link. For a year or so, small but growing part of the fleet will sit idle in OMF-E to allow sufficient room for OMF-C to test & commission the incoming Siemens vehicles until East Link will allow for Link to drive between the OMFs.

      14. @asdf2,

        Bingo! You are correct. Expanded Link without the bus restructure works just fine – no problem at all. But a bus restructure without expanded Link would be highly problematic.

        However, the contingency plan for such a thing would probably be to run a short term bus bridge, and probably a dual bridge at that. It would be a brute force and painful solution, but there aren’t a lot of better choices.

        As per when exactly NG Link opens, I’m assuming it opens at start-of-service for the day. Basically along with rest of the Link system. My plan is to go to Armistice in the morning and grab some coffee, then start riding. Should be great.

        10 days, 3 hours, and 30 minutes until opening!

        Oh, and whereas ST normally tries to avoid opening these extensions on sports days, October 2nd actually is a sports day. However it is the Mariners, so it is more of a “sports” day, and they play at 6 PM. Shouldn’t be a problem.

      15. If ST had some last minute problems, Metro would just delay its changes as well. As eddie wrote, Metro has done that before.

  4. I noticed that ST now lists the times for the next three train arrivals on the electronic signs. That’s an improvement! There is even a listing as one walks down the path to the Seatac Airport platform so you know how much time you have well before the fare machines! Yay!

    The only problem is the legacy audio warning that still uses “northbound” and “southbound” when the two-minute announcement comes on. That’s because there is no mention of cardinal direction on any sign. I’m assuming that this will change at some point. I’m guessing it will say “towards Northgate” instead of “Northbound” eventually.

  5. Has anyone had any success with real-time arrivals working when there are delays? In my experience the system has only ever worked reliably when the trains are running on time, and at that point it’s barely necessary. Any time there’s a disruption the real times seem to simply disappear.

Comments are closed.