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Light rail opens on the Eastside

Link 2 Line brings light rail to Bellevue and Redmond for the first time

Publish Date

Starting this morning, passengers on the Eastside will be able to use Link light rail to travel quickly and safely to destinations throughout Bellevue and Redmond. The 6.6-mile initial segment of the 2 Line includes eight stations, with service every 10 minutes, 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

This is the first opening in a year of exciting transit expansions. In August the 1 Line will extend into Snohomish County to Lynnwood, and in spring 2025, the 2 Line is expected to add two more stations in Redmond.

“This is a historic occasion for our region and the hundreds of thousands of people on the Eastside who will be able to use Link light rail to quickly and safely get to school, work, games, concerts, and more, without the hassles of traffic and parking,” said King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine. “We are well on our way to a more connected Puget Sound region with the 1 Line extension to Lynnwood opening in August, and the 2 Line further expanding next year.”

“This light rail line is going to change lives,” said King County Councilmember and Sound Transit System Expansion Committee Chair Claudia Balducci. “It will connect people to education, jobs, recreation, and each other, helping expand access to opportunity across our region. For me, this is the culmination of years and years of work by many people and a realization of the promise we made to voters in 2008. For the Eastside, it’s the beginning of an incredible transformation that will benefit the community for decades to come.”

“Public transit is a top priority for people across Washington state, so it’s a top priority for me —and I’m proud to have fought for, and won, crucial investments in our state’s public transit system,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I have a long history with this project and remember some pretty tough times a couple decades ago fighting alongside Joni Earl to ensure there was a future for Sound Transit — that future is here now, and it is so bright. I am so excited to be able to tell everyone we will no longer have to wait years for light rail to come to Bellevue — instead it will be here every ten minutes! Delivering the federal dollars to support Puget Sound’s incredible expansion of public transit has not been easy, but as long as I serve as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee — it’s going to be a priority for the federal government.”

“The Muckleshoot Tribe is pleased to be a part of this important event celebrating the opening of the East Link extension, connecting South Bellevue and the Redmond Technology Center. We appreciate our strong relationship with Sound Transit as they work to bring light rail to communities throughout our usual and accustomed land,” said Muckleshoot Tribal Council Chairperson Jason Elkins.

“Sound Transit’s latest expansion unlocks the potential for greater economic growth in this region and it creates more opportunities for Washingtonians to connect and explore the cities and towns around Lake Washington,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

"As the Seattle area continues to grow, we know that thousands of people depend on transit to move them around this growing and thriving community," said FTA Regional Administrator Susan Fletcher. "The opening of the Eastside initial segment of the Link 2 Line light rail system will have a significant impact on the entire region, and it will make a really big difference for residents traveling to destinations on the Eastside."

“Ever since the Eastside community voted for Sound Transit, I’ve dreamed of a day when I can hop on a train in Redmond and quickly get to Bellevue. Now, that day is here,” said Redmond Mayor and Sound Transit Boardmember Angela Birney. “This is a historic moment that’s been years in the making, and I am excited for people across the Eastside and beyond to ride the rails.”

"Today’s celebration reminds us that progress is not a solitary endeavor, but rather the collective effort of visionaries, engineers, and skilled workers coming together to create a more accessible and sustainable future for everyone,” said Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft. "This is a fantastic step in connecting people and communities across the Puget Sound region.”

“Our downtown Bellevue campus was designed around the connectivity that mass transit provides, both for the community and the businesses that are growing here," said David Zapolsky, senior vice president of global public policy and general counsel at Amazon. “Not only will this investment provide easier access to downtown Bellevue for our 12,000 Amazon employees in the city, but as we continue to invest in affordable housing with access to nearby public transit through the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, the 2 Line will also begin to open up new opportunities for the broader community.”

“We are about to board light rail on the Eastside for the first time thanks to the years of collaboration and hard work that our community members, project partners, Sound Transit staff,

and contractors have dedicated to make this moment possible,” said Sound Transit Interim CEO Goran Sparrman. “Congratulations and thanks to the many hundreds of people who have played such an important role in bringing the vision of a more connected Eastside to life.”

“When the train doors open on Saturday, anyone who lives, works or plays in Bellevue will have far more sustainable and accessible options to move throughout the city and the entire Eastside," said Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson. "We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the community as we showcase Bellevue and all its amenities along the 2 Line."

“Thank you to Sound Transit and its leaders and staff for creating economic opportunity for generations of working people. These investments here on the Eastside have created thousands of good, family-wage jobs for skilled craftspeople. Sound Transit has provided pathways out of poverty for women, people of color, veterans and others who are disadvantaged into construction careers. Through strong training programs and apprenticeships, we have worked together to build the next generation of construction workers, many from local communities here on the Eastside. Getting to this significant step on this huge regional system took vision, persistence, and bold leadership — and it will build better lives,” said Monty Anderson, executive secretary, Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council.

Voters approved the East Link extension in 2008 as part of the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure. The project broke ground in 2016, and the one-third mile-long Downtown Bellevue Tunnel was completed in 2020.

In August 2023 the Sound Transit Board authorized the opening of the initial segment of the 2 Line on the Eastside while construction to correct quality issues on the I-90 segment continues. Since last February, trains have been running simulated service between South Bellevue and Redmond Technology Station, during which all Link trains run a normal schedule without passengers.

Multiple contractors worked on the segment of the 2 Line opening today. Shimmick/Parsons Joint Venture was the contractor for the South Bellevue Segment. The Downtown Bellevue Tunnel was constructed by Guy F. Atkinson Construction, LLC. Stacy and Witbeck/Atkinson, a joint venture, completed the segment between Downtown Bellevue and the Spring District; Max J. Kuney Company was the contractor for the BelRed segment; and the contractor for the Redmond segment was Kiewit-Hoffman East Link Constructors, a joint venture between Kiewit Infrastructure West Co and Hoffman Construction Company of Washington. Mass Electric was the contractor for systems.

The full 2 Line is expected to open in 2025. The Downtown Redmond Link Extension is projected to open in spring 2025 with the Marymoor Village and Downtown Redmond stations. When completed, the I-90 segment will add the Mercer Island and Judkins Park stations to the 2 Line and connect to the 1 Line at the International District/Chinatown Station in downtown Seattle.

Bus routes will remain unchanged until the 2 Line crosses Lake Washington.  

Free parking is available at South Bellevue, BelRed and Redmond Technology stations. Several stations are accessible from the Eastrail corridor and the regional trail network. Secure bike parking is available at every station.

Visit for maps and information about how to ride.