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A Sound Transit staff ambassador wears his teal vest and a Sounders scarf while talking to a passenger
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Transit staff also helped guide everyone through the service disruption.

1 Line maintenance projects a success thanks to partners, passengers

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We made it!

The three weeks of work in the downtown tunnel wrapped up on time, and the 1 Line has returned to its normal schedule. Instead of trains running on a single track every 26 to 30 minutes between UW and Stadium stations and 13 minutes everywhere else, we’re back to the level of service that you expect. Now trains will be coming every eight minutes again during peak times.

We know that the disruption made January feel even longer than it was. On top of that, we experienced some unplanned service disruptions that made a tough situation even harder for our riders.

We appreciate our passengers for sticking with us through it all. You were patient despite the long waits, crowded trains, and extra time that it took to get to their destination. You adapted to the changes to your ride, so that by the end of the three weeks, things were running smoothly. 

Sound Transit’s staff ambassadors, fare ambassadors and security personnel deserve a lot of credit for helping riders navigate this disruption. They were at the stations to answer questions, direct people to the right trains and help, anyway that they could, make the situation less confusing. Sometimes that meant standing on outdoor platforms for hours at a time in the early morning during our record-breaking cold snap, but they were committed to giving passengers assistance.

Our transit partners at King County Metro were also crucial to the success of this work, as they operated weekend bus bridges during complete closures of the tunnel.

Now that the work is finished, the good news is that your ride will be a lot smoother. By replacing 500 feet of northbound track between University Street and Westlake stations in the sharpest curve in our system, we’ve removed the cause of the bumps and jerkiness that you once experienced on that stretch of the ride.

We also replaced the 58 bond boxes, which carry the train signals. The old bond boxes were failing, and when they did, they would cause systemwide delays. With the new ones in place, the system will be that much more reliable.

Maintenance will still be an important part of our focus going forward, particularly in the downtown tunnel. The tunnel opened in 1990, and trains have been running through it since 2009. Like any piece of infrastructure, as it ages, it requires regular work to make sure that it remains in good repair. We’ll do our best to mitigate the impact to our riders for any future work that comes along.

In the meantime, we want to take a moment to thank our passengers, ST staff and the construction team that make this big project a success. It wasn’t always easy, but the work was crucial for our ability to deliver a Great Ride.

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