After more than a decade of planning, project design, and alignment construction, Sound Transit is at last on the verge of bringing high capacity transit service to Bellevue and Redmond, two of Seattle’s largest suburbs. With all of the stations built and the tracks in place, the agency has recently moved into the testing phase on the eastern segments of its forthcoming Line 2 light rail line.
The agency started with nighttime testing last year. Now testing is occurring during the daytime, which is exciting, because it’s a lot easier to see the trains.
Earlier this week, NPI captured a test train rolling through Bellevue. Today, Sound Transit crews brought two trains east to the Line 2 terminus in Redmond for more tests. Our cameras were there to capture the action, and we’re delighted to be able to share our favorite photos and videos with Cascadia Advocate readers.
Let’s get to the pictures and clips. Note that none of the videos have any sound.
I: Two trains make their way to RTS via Overlake Village
For today’s test, Sound Transit staff decided to send out not one, but two trains. In the clip below, you can see both of them heading east in tandem towards the Overlake Village Station. One is a Kinki Sharyo-made LRV from the first-generation Sound Transit fleet; the other is a Siemens-made second-generation LRV.
II: The trains cross over NE 148th Avenue
In this clip, you can see the trains pass over NE 148th Avenue at State Route 520 and prepare to enter Overlake Village Station.
III. A train moves so workers can check the track
In this clip, you can see a test train slowly moving towards RTS, then crews step forward to inspect the track where the train was.
IV: Traffic rolls by a parked bus and the two LRVs
In this clip, you can see the two trains parked on either side of the platform at the Redmond Technology Station, with an ST Express bus on the adjacent ramp.
V. Zooming over the Redmond Technology Platform
In this clip, you can see the trains at the Redmond Technology Station from another angle. RTS uses a center platform configuration rather than platforms on either side. Riders can exit at ground level or by going up and over the tracks.
VI. Workers check out the tracks near RTS
In this clip, you can see the Siemens LRV they picked for testing parked underneath the new pedestrian walkway Microsoft built across State Route 520 to better connect its Redmond campus while workers check out the tracks.
Sound Transit’s East Link / Line 2 is tentatively slated to open in mid-2024, bringing service to eight new stations located in Bellevue and Redmond.
After issues with the cross-lake section of the alignment are fixed, Line 2 service will be extended to and from Seattle via Mercer Island with two more stations.