NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, September 15th, 2023

Trainspotting with NPI: Light rail vehicles roll into Redmond for daytime Line 2 testing

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.

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