Seattle: Sound Transit: Central Link Light Rail Trains at University of Washington Station
Back in Seattle, here's several of Sound Transit's Central Link light rail trains arriving and departing at the Central Link line's northern terminus, University of Washington.
To watch trains arriving and departing from Capitol Hill, one stop down the line, click here: https://youtu.be/iJNZ8Utle8o
To watch a journey on Central Link from Stadium to University of Washington, click here: https://youtu.be/wVc39RG9uN0
Link Light Rail, operated by Sound Transit, is one of the newest light rail projects in the United States. The current system includes two lines - the Tacoma Link and the Central Link - but Seattle is already building massive extensions that will take this relatively small transit system all throughout the Greater Seattle Area.
The Central Link and Tacoma Link never share track or cross paths once; in fact, they are 30 miles apart.
The Tacoma Link runs mostly in and around Downtown Tacoma, with six stops spanning from the Tacoma Dome to the Theater District. It was the first streetcar line in the Greater Seattle Area to open in 63 years.
The Central Link, opened in 2009, is the main light rail line of Seattle and runs between the University of Washington and Angle Lake Station, with major stops at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, Stadium (at Safeco Field and CenturyLink field) and Westlake, right in the heart of Downtown Seattle.
Considering how new Seattle's rail system is, it's not surprising it still serves a relatively small area of the region. Seattle is not about to stop building more track, however, and there are several ambitious extension plans coming in the next several years.
The first extension to hit the Central Link occurred five months after the line initially opened, in December 2009, when the line was extended from Tukwila to Sea/Tac Int'l Airport.
Seven years later, in March of 2016, the line was extended from its northern terminus at Westlake to University of Washington, with one additional stop at Capitol Hill. Six months later, in September, the line was extended one stop south to Angle Lake.
On November 8, 2016, voters passed Sound Transit 3 measure, which granted $53.8 billion dollars to be geared towards extending light rail by five times its total track length (in miles) today, as well as improved BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) and Sounder commuter rail service.
Seattle is planning on extending both of the current light rail lines, as well as building an entirely new light rail line to Bellevue.
On the Central Link, Sound is already building the extension of the line north of University of Washington to the busy Northgate Transit Center, with stops at University District and Roosevelt. This extension should be open by 2021.
By 2023, Sound wishes to continue further north, past Northgate, all the way to Lynnwood. This would make the total track mileage of the Central Link at 33 miles, with 23 stations.
But that's not all. Sound is currently planning to extend the Central Link from the current southern terminal, Angle Lake, to the cities of Des Moines and Kent by 2023. By 2030, the line could reach Federal Way Transit Center, and a decade later it could link up (excuse the pun) with Tacoma link.
Heading east, Sound began construction of the East Link in 2016. This extension will introduce a brand new line to the Link light rail system.
The Blue Line will travel alongside the Red Line from Northgate to International District/Chinatown, where it will split off and begin heading east. It will then travel under Lake Washington, to Bellevue, and terminate at Redmond Technology Center, home of tech giant Microsoft. One year later, the line will be extended to Downtown Redmond.
Moving to the Tacoma Link, the extension north of Downtown Tacoma to the city's Stadium District and Hilltop is expected to open in 2022. The line will eventually extend further east, possibly all the way to Tacoma Community College.
Several other extensions are also planned, including rail to Issaquah by 2040 and extensions of the current Central Link north to Everett and south to Tacoma. Rail to Ballard and West Seattle is also planned. Sound has also laid the groundwork for extensions to occur decades into the future, possibly featuring over a dozen rail lines all across the greater Seattle-Tacoma region.
Seattle is one of many urban regions feeling a renaissance in rail-based transit options. It is quickly building and expanding on what is already a successful system, and which has the potential to become one of the finest transit systems in North America.