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, February 2nd, 2024

Trainspotting with NPI: Follow an LRV as it heads into Redmond Technology at sunset

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.

Two trains at Redmond Technology Station

Two Line 2 trains at Red­mond Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter Sta­tion dur­ing sim­u­lat­ed pre-rev­enue ser­vice (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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.

Trains at Redmond Technology Station, a multimodal hub

Red­mond Tech­nol­o­gy Sta­tion was built to be a mul­ti­modal hub, with a garage for cars above bus bays for Metro, Sound Tran­sit, and Con­nec­tor coach­es. The sta­tion will also be approach­able from mul­ti­ple direc­tions on foot thanks to the con­struc­tion of side­walks and a new bridge over State Route 520. Cov­eed bike stor­age will be avail­able for bicy­clists. (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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
  • Bel-Red
  • Spring Dis­trict
  • Wilbur­ton
  • 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.

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