Trains are running every 15-20 minutes. All trains terminate at Pioneer Square Station and require transferring to the other platform continue further north or south. ST has a useful chart of bus alternatives for various station pairs, and urges people to use them if feasible to avoid the downtown tunnel. ST’s alert page has the latest official status. Here’s our previous coverage of the reduction.
To recap, a sidewalk project on Pine Street broke the ceiling of underground Westlake Station above the northbound platform. The platform is closed for two weeks maybe. All trains in both directions are using the southbound platforms at Westlake and University Street, and the northbound platforms at Chinatown/International District and Stadium.
I went down this afternoon to confirm the situation.
Westlake, 3:15pm, Saturday April 29, southbound trip
Westlake Station: Soutbound platform only (single-track).30 people were on the platform, some going north, some going south. An official on the platform was explaining the situation to people. A southbound train came as I was arriving and I got on it. There were a few seats available. The entrance escalators at 5th & Pine were working yesterday, but today one was closed, two were stopped, and only one was running (upward).
University Street: Southbound platform only (single-track). A few on/offs.
Pioneer Square: North-end trains terminate at the southbound platform. Passengers continuing must go up to the mezzanine, across, and down to the other platform. There are escalators up but only stairs down. It’s been harder for me to use stairs for the past year, so I used the elevator. The elevators in the downtown tunnel are slow so I was afraid of missing the transfer. The platform elevators are located next to the balcony fence overlooking the platforms. When I got into the elevator, the train hadn’t arrived. When I got out of the elevator to the northbound platform, the had arrived and was deboarding. Then it started boarding but the display still said “Northgate”. I got on. The driver announced the rain would go south. Then the display changed to “Angle Lake”, and the automated announcement confirmed this. But the next-station display was off: it thought the starting station was Northgate, the second Roosevelt, etc. The train departed southward.
Chinatown/International: Northbound platform only (single-track). A few on/offs.
Stadium: Northbound platform only (single-track). No on/offs in my car. This is unusual: normally every station has at least one on/off, although sometimes Stadium doesn’t.
SODO: Southbound platform (normal pattern). I turned around to go back north on the other platform.
SODO, 3:37pm, northbound trip
SODO: Northbound platform (normal pattern). 19 people were on the platform. I waited 9 minutes for a train. There were repeated automated announcements saying that people would have to transfer at Pioneer Square to continue north, and go up to the mezzanine and back down. The train arrived and displayed “Northgate”. I got on the train. The train remained stopped at the station for 7 minutes. After 5 minutes the driver announced, “The reason for the delay is the train in front has not cleared the track yet.” After 2 more minutes the train started moving. I saw the track crossovers south of Stadium.
Stadium: Northbound platform (single-track)
Pioneer Square: The display had already switched to “Angle Lake” when it approached the station. I did the platform do-si-do in reverse. When I got into the elevator, the next train was already boarding, so I was even more concerned about missing it. When I got out of the elevator, it was still boarding. Maybe an official was watching me and holding the train for me. A lot of people were getting off and on the trains, but it wasn’t overcrowded. There was a short line for the escalator, nothing unusual. After I got on the train, I saw there were a lot of standees and it was standing room only. The train waited 25 more seconds and then departed.
University Street: Southbound platform (single-track). Two people got on in my car. Two others asked me which direction the rain was going. I said “Northbound”. They didn’t understand, so I repeated, “Northbound. To Northgate.” They stepped back and didn’t board the train. An announcement said the train was going north. Then it departed.
Westlake: Southbound platform (single-track). Many people got on. There were still a lot of standees. North end ridership strikes again!
Capitol Hill: Northbound platform (normal pattern). The station was busy as usual. I took the southeast elevator up the surface and walked through Cal Anderson Park. It was 75 degrees and people were all over the lawns, playing basketball, or in a group at the waterfall.
This all feels like an unprecedented Link disruption. Connect 2020 was planned, and had a temporary center platform at Pioneer Square to transfer without going up to the mezzanine. When Connect 2020 ended, we transit fans urged ST to leave the platform in place, in case it could be used later. It did for several months, but then removed it. It wasn’t there today: there was just the usual unused center lane. There have been downtown Link shutdowns for maintenance, but there was a replacement bus to fill the gap. That caused a little confusion for visitors, but not nearly as much as now. Now there’s widespread confusion about which direction a train is going in, or which platform to wait at in Pioneer Square. There are announcements every few minutes at all stations near downtown, and on trains, and there are staff at the downtown stations announcing things or explaining things to people. The announcements are usually clear but not always, and there’s still widespread confusion in spite of them. So it will be an ordeal as long as the single-tracking continues.