A link light rail train being pushed along the tracks just east of the Bellevue Downtown Station at night.
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A link light rail train being pushed along the tracks just east of the Bellevue Downtown Station at night.

Fresh pics: Trains rolling (slowly) on the Eastside!

Train clearance testing marks another East Link milestone

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Link light rail trains are now arriving at stations in Bellevue and the Eastside.    

A link light rail train stops at the Bellevue Downtown Station platform as part of the clearance testing now underway.
A link light rail train stops at the Bellevue Downtown Station platform as part of the clearance testing now underway.

Marking another milestone for the East Link light rail extension, crews have begun clearance testing for light rail vehicles along the route that will connect Seattle with stations on Mercer Island, Bellevue and the Overlake/Bel Red areas.

East Link opens as the 2 Line in 2023.

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 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.

The clearance testing involves slowly pushing or pulling trains from the Operations and Maintenance Facility East along the alignment with a speicial "high-rail" vehicle. It's essentially a large truck that can run on the rails.

Most of the testing happens overnight as crews measure clearances along the trackway, under overpasses and at station platforms.

Crews watch as a test train is slowly pushed across the new light rail bridge over I-405 coming into downtown Bellevue.
Crews watch as a test train is slowly pushed across the new light rail bridge over I-405 coming into downtown Bellevue.

Overall, East Link construction is more than 90 percent complete and on track to open in 2023 to the Redmond Technology Station near the Microsoft campus.  

A train approaches the platform at the Bellevue Downtown Station during a recent overnight clearance test.
A train approaches the Willburton Station platform east of I-405 during a recent overnight clearance test.

The clearance testing will be ongoing as crews continue work leading up to trains running on their own power later next year.

Check here for a high-resolution gallery of the photos in this story and a few more!

We think they'd make a great virtual background or wallpaper.

Another extension into downtown Redmond with two more stations opens in 2024.

Go here for more information about East Link.

It's all part of the major light rail expansions opening over the next three years with tracks stretching to Lynnwood and Federal Way in 2024 and the Hilltop Tacoma Link expansion opening next year.

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