Sound Transit starts intensive light rail testing

Publish Date

Keep an eye out for light rail trains passing through Seattle’s SODO neighborhood as Sound Transit moves into intensive Link light rail testing.

“Every day we see Link light rail gathering more momentum. It’s an exciting time for commuters in central Puget Sound to see this project literally rolling,” said Sound Transit Board Chairman and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg.

In November the region’s residents will vote on major light rail expansions as part of the Roads & Transit ballot measure. The testing shows voters the modern light rail technology that would expand to operate across a regional system stretching more than 60 miles, adding fast, frequent and reliable service to the Bellevue, Redmond, Northgate, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Des Moines, Lynnwood, Federal Way and Tacoma areas.

Today staff briefed members of the media on the Link testing and safety program. Initial testing of light rail vehicles and systems is taking place on 1.3 miles of track in SODO. Testing will continue up to the start of light rail passenger service in 2009, with activities expanding to additional light rail segments as construction moves forward.

“Moving Link into testing mode shows the voters we can get the job done and deliver real options to give them a better commute,” said Central Link Oversight Committee Chairman and King County Councilman Larry Phillips. “This is another example of Sound Transit proving itself as a regional leader in delivering major projects for commuters.”

During this phase of light rail testing, drivers, bicyclists and others can expect to see the light rail vehicles rolling along the E3 Busway and through intersections at South Lander Street, South Holgate Street and South Royal Brougham Way. Initially the testing will take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Beginning in April, the testing may be expanded to run from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Sound Transit reminds motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to be alert and keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Link trains are electric and very quiet. You may not hear them coming.
  • Whenever you are around trains or tracks, remember to watch for trains.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the tracks. Trains can travel in any direction, on any track, at any time. After a train passes, another train may be coming from the opposite direction.
  • Do not walk, stand, or park a vehicle on the tracks. Trains can arrive at any time.
  • Stay away from the track switches that are used to change train directions. These switches are very powerful and can move at any time without warning.
  • We may test trains at any time, day or night. Be alert and be safe.
  • Never drive or cycle around a closed crossing gate, even after a train has passed. Proceed only after the lights stop flashing and the gate opens.
  • Never race a train or try to beat it through an intersection. Even in a tie, you lose.
  • Do not start driving across the tracks unless there is room on the other side to get completely across. If you don’t fit, don’t commit, and never stop on the tracks.
  • When crossing the tracks on a bicycle, always cross the tracks at a 90-degree angle to prevent your bicycle tires from getting stuck in the tracks.
  • When walking, cross the street or tracks only at designated crosswalks. Obey all traffic signs and signals. 

Learn more about Link safety>>>


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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.