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Peek behind the clean scene

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It’s not just a spring cleaning thing. Keeping Sound Transit trains and buses polished and rider-friendly is an everyday job.

Link light rail cars are swept, mopped and window-washed every night at the Link Operations & Maintenance base in the SODO area of Seattle. Every couple of days the trains drive through a washer that uses mostly recycled water to clean the outsides. Then, about once a month, they come in for a ceiling-to-floor cleaning that includes a steam wash, scrubbing and overall polishing that takes from eight to 10 hours per train.

“When they leave here, they look brand new,” says Deb Waters, who is part of the Link cleaning crew.

At the end of a hard day on the road, ST Express buses hit the showers. It’s like taking your car through a commercial wash, only at 60 feet long and over 10 feet tall, everything about cleaning a bus is oversized. At Community Transit’s Kasch Park, every Sound Transit bus serving the north end gets a cleaning inside and out. They are also on a regular rotation that includes a full scrubbing, with mops and vacuum.

Every evening in Lakewood and Everett, maintenance workers go through each Sounder train picking up trash, vacuuming, emptying garbage receptacles, cleaning bathrooms and generally giving the trains a good once-over. Twice a week, after a hard day of running up and down the Puget Sound, the trains are showered and cleaned at the Amtrak maintenance base near Safeco Field.

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