Riders pour through one of the Northgate Station entrances that features a giant "Welcome" matt on a sunny October day.
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Opening the three new 1 Line stations at Northgate, Roosevelt and the U District tops our 2021 highlights.

2021: The year in pictures

Looking back while moving ahead

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As we wrap up our second year of COVID and head into 2022 with another wave of variant-driven news and uncertainty, we at The Platform invite you to take a breath from the day's news as we look back at a year that delivered excitement with three brand new Link light rail stations, optimism at full-speed construction on the biggest system expansion in the nation and an appreciation for those fleeting glimpses of normal everyday life.

We rolled into 2021 emerging from the anxieties of 2020 feeling masked excitement for opening the new Northgate, Roosevelt and U District stations.

Cautious optimism reigned as vaccinations became widely available, new trains rolled into service, the new stations went through their final testing, and fresh construction pictures streamed in from across the region as union tradespeople put in more than three million hours of work expanding light rail to the north, east and south.

Riders embraced the new 1 Line stations on opening day as we celebrated the people and unique communities around each of them on a sunny October Saturday that seems like ages ago as we look back from today - the shortest, darkest day of the year.

Even under the shadow of the recent troubling Omicron news, we look ahead with optimism and hope, knowing we're in a much more vaccinated and boosted place this year than a year ago. 

We've had our share of ups and downs in 2021, but here's to a brighter, more connected 2022 as new stations open to the Hilltop and Stadium neighborhoods in Tacoma and we continue progress to open to the Eastside in 2023 and to Lynnwood and Federal Way in 2024!

Looking back at 2021, a year in photos

A view of Northgate Station on opening day from the new John Lewis Memorial Bridge for pedestrians that crosses over I-5 as people walk and push bikes over the bridge coming and going to/from the new station.
Thousands poured into Northgate Station on opening day, Oct. 2, as seen here from the new John Lewis Memorial Bridge that crosses over Interstate 5 connecting the station with the neighborhoods (and Seattle Community College) west of I-5.
Part of the testing crew walks near the train as it slowly approaches downtown Bellevue on a recent overnight test. The trains are being pushed by a special high-rail vehicle at walking speed.
A member of the testing crew walks alongside a Link light rail vehicle at night in downtown Bellevue during clearance testing for the new line that opens in 2023. The testing marked a major milestone for the project and provided some amazing nightime photos. Next up, live powered train testing - keep your eyes peeled on the Eastside!

 

The guideway for the Lynnwood Link light rail extension curves with the land along I-5 north of Seattle approaching Mountlake Terrace Station.
The guideway for the Lynnwood Link light rail extension curves with the land along I-5 north of Seattle approaching Mountlake Terrace Station. Lynnwood Link passed the halfway mark of construction in 2021 - trains roll into Snohomish County in 2024!
A Sounder commuter rail train rolling down tracks with trees in their blends of yellow and red colored leaves on either side.
A Sounder commuter rail train rolling down the tracks with trees in their fall colors on either side. It wouldn't be a year-in-pictures story without some beauty shots from our resident railfan photographer. Go here for more of Glenn Landberg's highlights and grab a new background for your Teams/Zoom/Whatever meetings. Looks like we'll be working remotely for awhile longer in 2022. 
Looking down from a drones-eye view of the Operations and Maintenance Facility East featuring rows of train tracks that will be filled with light rail cars as they're delivered.
Looking down from a drones-eye view of the Operations and Maintenance Facility East (OMFE) featuring rows of train tracks that will be filled with light rail cars as they're delivered. The OMFE opened in 2021 providing essential space to store and maintain more trains going to more places
A Tacoma Link light rail trains makes it's way through downtown Tacoma on a bright summer day.
A Tacoma Link light rail trains makes it's way through downtown Tacoma on a bright summer day. The 2.4-mile Hilltop Tacoma Link extension opens in 2022 with 6 new stations serving the Hilltop and Stadium neighborhoods while providing access through downtown Tacoma and connections to regional transit trains and buses at the Tacoma Dome area
A Sound Transit Express bus passes underneath the elevated South Bellevue Link light rail station platform as rare fall sunshine pours directly into the camera lens.
A Sound Transit Express bus passes underneath the elevated South Bellevue Link light rail station platform as rare fall sunshine pours directly into the camera lens. The station's expanded park-and-ride opened in 2021 for Sound Transit Express bus services and trains connect there in 2023. 
A Link light rail train framed by fall foliage as it rolls from Mt. Baker Station heading south through the Rainier Valley in Seattle.
A Link light rail train framed by fall foliage as it heads north into Mt. Baker Station in the Rainier Valley in Seattle. Grab this and other high-resolution photos for your new Teams background here
A man and a woman in construction gear smile while looking out over a work site.
Union tradespeople put in more than 3 million hours of work on Sound Transit construction projects in 2021 and they're not slowing down as we're busy building the largest light rail expansion in the nation with new lines to the north, east and south opening over the next three years. Check out our archive of "Fresh pics" construction features for more stories highlighting the hard-working people building your new rail lines

 

Looking down from an aerial drone photo of Capitol Hill Station where new apartment buildings surround the station with Cal Anderson Park in the background.
Looking down from an aerial drone photo of Capitol Hill Station where new apartment buildings surround the station with Cal Anderson Park in the background. Residents and local and national businesses filled the station development in 2021 culminating decades of planning and working with the community on the multi-faceted project. The community also dedicated the Aids Memorial Pathway art installation which found a permanent home in the station plaza. It's a a powerful and emotional installation that "take visitors through an emotional and historical journey related to the AIDS epidemic in our region from the early 1980s to today."   

Thank you to everyone who has followed The Platform this past year as we've done our best to give you a personalized look at the people and projects working to connect this amazing place we call home. 

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Have a peaceful, safe, holiday season with the people you love and who love you.  

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