A Link light rail train travels underneath the University of Washington during testing to open the new line to Northgate. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

A Link light rail train travels underneath the University of Washington during testing to open the new line to Northgate. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Northgate Link light rail testing moves into final stages

Three new north Seattle stations opening Oct. 2

By Zee Shaner

Sound Transit

We’re approaching the finish line as we work to open three new stations at Northgate, Roosevelt and the U District on Oct. 2. With just five weeks to go as of this post, the tracks and stations will be a flurry of activity between now and opening day.

The ‘pre-revenue’ period rolled out in August, which is transit lingo for a period of intensive testing to make sure that stations, tracks, utilities, escalators, elevators, systems and vehicles all work together as expected prior to welcoming passengers.

Though much of this testing will be invisible to riders, it became much more visible on Aug. 30, when we began running full simulated service, with all trains continuing without riders from University of Washington Station to and from Northgate.

Most riders won’t notice any differences during testing, but UW Station riders will notice some small changes. Instead of using both tracks to board trains, riders will board at the southbound track only and the northbound track will become drop-off only.

Trips between Capitol Hill and UW will also be little faster, as trains will no longer slow down to switch tracks just south of UW.

As we begin to test trains, we’re also busy updating rider information, and we have big changes coming this fall in how we name our lines.

In October, Link becomes the 1 Line, Tacoma Link becomes the T Line, and Sounder South and Sounder North become the S and N lines, respectively. When East Link opens in 2023, it will operate as a new 2 Line.

These changes are already visible aboard 1-Line (Link) vehicles and on station maps, and riders will soon see new overhead signs, area maps, schedules, and other rider information change as well.

Rider information for T Line (Tacoma Link) and S and N Line (Sounder) riders will also begin to change over the coming weeks.

The result is that the next few weeks will be a mix of old and new information, and during this transition we encourage you to visit the Sound Transit website for up-to-date schedules and other rider info.

It may be an awkward transitional month, but it’s all to make sure we are ready to hit the track running when we welcome you aboard on Oct. 2.


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