A link train approaching Mount Baker Station in the snow

The ice train cometh

Publish Date

Link stays up all night to get you running in the morning

(First things first - be prepared for changing conditions as a rider - sign up for winter weather alerts.)

Overnight Link light rail maintenance crews use a host of precautions during the winter months to ensure your trains are ready to roll in the morning.

While our winters here in the Pacific Northwest will (hopefully) never be as brutal as those in the Midwest and Northeast, we do plan ahead for freezing temperatures and the rare lowland snowstorms. 

When needed, trains run all night to keep the tracks and power lines clear of snow. 

And when the forecasts predict ice and snow, we roll out the Ice Train

These are trains with heated pantographs (the part of the train that touches the overhead power lines) that helps melt away ice on the power lines.

Switch heaters and shovels on the ground

Winter weather preparation doesn’t stop with ice trains.

All 50 electric switches in the Sound Transit Operations and Maintenance Facility yard and several at strategic locations on the main train line are also equipped with special heaters to keep them from freezing up and locking in place overnight.

It’s vital to keep those switches from freezing or collecting too much snow overnight so trains can deploy from the main yard every morning.

Our last defense against Mother Nature comes from good old manual labor – crews out with shovels and salt keeping the train platforms safe and clear.

We appreciate the hard work that goes on behind the scenes as we wait for trains on cold winter mornings and hope you will too next time you’re headed out to catch a train after a long, (relatively) cold night.

Thankfully, our winters don't require lighting fires along the rails and switches like our friends at Metra back in Chicago have become famous for.


Back to The Platform »