Q: Am I safe during an earthquake in Sound Transit’s light rail tunnels?
We get a lot of questions about earthquakes and tunnels. The answer is yes, you are safe in a Link tunnel and underground station during an earthquake. Very safe. Probably safer than aboveground where there might be falling glass, trees and power lines.
“Our tunnels and underground stations are designed to withstand most earthquakes without significant damage so trains can continue running,” said Steve Gleaton, Sound Transit’s Structural Engineering Manager. They are further designed and built to survive, and not collapse, during a major earthquake.
Historically, tunnels do very well in earthquakes. Go back a few years for an example. After the devastating Bay Area earthquake of 1989 (sometimes known as the World Series Earthquake), the BART tube running under San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland was one of the few transportation systems operating right after the quake. Trains were running, stations were open.