ST Spotlight: Magnetic fields and good vibrations
Good news from University Link light rail testing: the magnetic fields and vibrations are good. Here’s the explanation. Sound Transit’s agreement with the University of Washington to run light rail requires that the train’s vibrations and magnetic fields do not affect the UW’s sensitive research.
Together with the UW, we ran more than 80 different train tests in the past few months and verified that the magnetic fields will be under the levels outlined in the agreement. Similarly, the data looks very good from the approximately 100 tests we took for vibration levels. One of the ways we’re reducing vibrations is through “floating slabs,” where tracks run over slabs of concrete sitting on rubber support pads. A 400-foot floating slab prototype for University Link was used to test how a longer stretch will function when trains for the Northgate Link Extension pass under the University of Washington’s sensitive buildings.
The 3.15-mile U Link extension between downtown Seattle and the UW, with stations at Capitol Hill and UW, opened in March 2016.