Happy February! In this latest edition of our Trainspotting with NPI series, we’ve got more neat footage to share with you of Line 2 light rail trains rolling through the Eastside in advance of the grand public opening of the Redmond-to-Bellevue segment that is slated for sometime this spring.
We have only a few more weeks to go until it’ll be possible to ride the rails between two of East King County’s biggest cities. It’s exciting to see this huge milestone getting closer — we are thrilled that NPI’s hometown will soon be served by reliable high-capacity transit running in its own dedicated right of way!
Past “Trainspotting” installments required our staff to be in the right place at the right time in order to see and capture the trains. But now, with Sound Transit simulating regular passenger service, trains can be predictably sighted up and down the line by any observer or railfan. That’s pretty cool — and for our team, it makes planning aerial observation with a flying camera much easier.
Let’s get to the pictures and clips. Note that none of the videos have any sound.
I: Following a train into Redmond Technology Station
In this clip, you can get a bird’s eye view of a train rolling eastbound into Redmond Technology Station from Overlake Village. You’ll see the train cross under NE 36th Street and Microsoft’s new campus pedestrian bridge.
II: Two trains at Redmond Technology Station
Now for a photo. Here you can see two LRVs parked at their temporary eastern terminus. Before long, trains will roll further east, into downtown Redmond.
III: Line 2 trains passing each other
In this clip, you can see two Line 2 trains passing each other, with one headed west (to Overlake Village) and one headed east (to Redmond Technology).
IV: Another view of trains at RTS
This photo shows the trains at rest at Redmond Technology from another angle. You can see how the parking garage was built above the bus bays located right next to the train tracks. What used to be a park and ride in the heart of Microsoft’s campus is now poised to become a major multimodal hub.
The phase of testing we’re in now — simulated service — is the final testing phase. Once regulators are satisfied that Sound Transit is ready to welcome riders, the agency will receive permission to bring the following stations online:
- Redmond Technology
- Overlake Village
- Spring District
- Bellevue Downtown
- East Main
- South Bellevue
The Bellevue to Seattle segment (which includes Mercer Island) will not open this year, because contractors need more time to fix defective construction on the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge. Eventually, though, the Mercer Island and Judkins Park Stations will open too, and Link will start carrying passengers across Lake Washington. Sound Transit has an operations and maintenance facility (train yard) in Bellevue, so it can provide service on the rest of the line in the meantime.