News & Reviews News Wire Sound Transit launches Bellevue-Redmond light rail service

Sound Transit launches Bellevue-Redmond light rail service

By Trains Staff | April 28, 2024

East Link ‘starter line’ draws big crowds for opening

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People taking pictures of light rail trains
Crowds turn out for the opening of Sound Transit’s Line 2, the East Link route between Bellevue and Redmond, on Saturday, April 27. King County Council member Girmay Zahilay via Twitter

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Large crowds turned out Saturday for the opening of the first portion of Sound Transit’s East Link light rail service, an isolated 6.6-mile, eight-station line between Bellevue and Redmond, Wash.

The Seattle Times reports hundreds of people were on hand well ahead of the ribbon-cutting that marked the start of service at 11:45 a.m., and thousands rode the line in its first hours of operation.

The new line will offer service on 10-minute intervals for 16 hours a day seven days a week.

“This light rail line is going to change lives,” Sound Transit System Expansion Committee Chair Claudia Balducci said in a press release. “It will connect people to education, jobs, recreation, and each other, helping expand access to opportunity across our region. For me, this is the culmination of years and years of work by many people and a realization of the promise we made to voters in 2008. For the Eastside, it’s the beginning of an incredible transformation that will benefit the community for decades to come.”

The new route is disconnected from the rest of Sound Transit’s light rail system because of construction issues that have required rebuilding in the segment along Interstate 90 and across Lake Washington, leaving incomplete a section of the new 2 Line between South Bellevue and the International District/Chinatown station in downtown Seattle. That portion is now expected to open in late 2025. But the transit agency made the decision in 2022 to open the “starter line” between Bellevue, and set the April opening earlier this year [see “Sound Transit to launch Belleview-Redmond light rail …,” Trains News Wire, Feb. 16, 2024].

Sound Transit will open another new section of its light rail system on Aug. 30, when Line 1 extends north from Northgate to Lynnwood, Wash.

Map of Seattle-area light rail routes
The first part of Sound Transit’s East Link light rail line (at right, in solid blue) is now open. Sound Transit

One thought on “Sound Transit launches Bellevue-Redmond light rail service

  1. It was a problem with the concrete plinths, fasteners, and supporting structures across Lake Washington and Mercer Island along the I-90 corridor. do not know the intimate details, but would think better oversight by project managers could have avoided this problem. Now the projected opening of the section across Lake Washington is late 2025 according to Sound Transit.

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