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Passengers need to prepare for Link service disruptions from Jan. 13 to Feb. 4

Trains will run less frequently on weekdays; shuttle buses will replace Link between Capitol Hill and SODO stations on weekends

Publish Date

Link light rail passengers should prepare for three weeks of disruptions starting Saturday, January 13 as Sound Transit undertakes several projects to improve service.

Starting Saturday, Jan. 13, through the end of service on Sunday, Feb. 4:

  • On weekdays, 1 Line trains will run only every 26 minutes between Northgate and Angle Lake. Additional weekday trains will run between Northgate–University of Washington, and between Stadium–Angle Lake, for combined service every 13 minutes in these areas.
  • On weekends during this period, trains will run every 15 minutes between Northgate–Capitol Hill and between SODO–Angle Lake. Bus shuttles every 10-15 minutes will replace trains between Capitol Hill–SODO and serve all closed stations. 
  • During weekdays, passengers who board at stations outside of Capitol Hill or downtown Seattle will need to stay alert to which train they choose. Half of the trains will serve all stations along the 1 Line, while the other half will terminate at either University of Washington or Stadium stations. If your destination is downtown or Capitol Hill, you may wait for the full-service train, or ride the additional service train to UW or Stadium stations, and then wait 13 minutes to transfer to the next train that goes all the way through.

The work is essential to improve the state of the system and prepare for the growth that is coming later this year and beyond. By scheduling these projects during the time of year when ridership is at its lowest, the hope is to limit impact on riders. Staff will be at stations throughout the disruption to answer questions and help passengers get to their destinations.

Making necessary repairs

The four downtown Seattle stations — Westlake, University Street, Pioneer Square, and Int’l Dist./Chinatown — are nearly 20 years older than the Link system itself. They opened for bus operations in 1990, and they were built to accommodate both buses and trains at the same time. This legacy of bus operations required design decisions that continue to make repairs to these stations much more disruptive than our more recently built stations. 

For example, because buses and trains ran together in the tunnel between 2009 and 2019, Sound Transit embedded the rails into the tunnel roadway, rather than on top, as they are in all our other tunnel stations. As a result, replacing any rails in those stations requires substantial demolition and rebuilding work. 

During this disruption, we’ll be completing two major projects at the same time: 

  1. We will replace 500 feet of northbound track between University Street and Westlake at the sharpest curve in the entire Link system. These rails are worn and have made for a bumpy ride for passengers for years. Without replacement, the worn rails will eventually become a safety hazard.
  2. We will replace 58 “bond boxes,” which provide signal connections to the tracks. All of these are located in between the rails. These bond boxes were progressively damaged by buses between 2009 and 2019, leading to occasional signal failures and train delays. Replacing the bond boxes requires that no trains run through those sections until replacement is complete. 

Besides providing staff ambassadors at stations during the disruption period to assist passengers, Sound Transit has a webpage dedicated to the upcoming service disruption, which includes station-specific information. The agency has also published tips for riders as they prepare for the upcoming disruption.

Passengers can access PDFs of train schedules for this period on the Sound Transit website.

Through the service disruption, the agency will continue to provide additional information to passengers to help them navigate the changes to their ride.