Tag Archives: Light rail

Line 2 Opening Weekend

The spring timetable change was the opportunity for Sound Transit to open a new line.  The troubles with the crossing of the I-90 bridge mean that the Redmond to Bellevue section of what is to be Line 2 is isolated from the rest of the network.  However, it was decided to open it up as a starter line to provide some service for the area pending the completion of the connection to the other side of Lake Washington.  They had a grand opening.  Rather than go on the Saturday when everyone was due to be out, I decided to try out the line on the Sunday.

I drove to the South Bellevue station which has a large parking garage.  It is the southern/western end of the line for now.  Trains run every ten minutes and I hopped on one to ride to the other end at Redmond Technology Center.  This is also an interim terminus as there will soon be an extension into downtown Redmond.  I checked out the route in the trip out and decided I would stop off at a couple of stations on the way back.

Plenty of people were out on the Sunday too.  Many seemed to be like me and exploring the new service.  Sundays aren’t a day to judge utilization of a system, but it will be interesting to see what ridership is like as the service gets going and people find out how best to use it for their purposes.  I hopped off at Wilburton Station to have a look at the platforms and the view across to downtown Bellevue.  I bumped into a guy I know from Sound Transit who was part of the opening support team for the weekend, and we ended up chatting for a while.

I then went to the station in Bellevue itself which is a nicely designed station just at the end of the tunnel that runs under the city.  You get a long view of the trains approaching from east as they come across the bridge while you can hear the trains coming through the tunnel as they approach.  After checking out a few elements of the station, I decided to head back to South Bellevue to pick up the car and go home.  The alignment was pretty good.  Ride quality was good in most areas and the stations seemed nicely put together both operationally and aesthetically.  It will be a good line when it is fully connected but, as an interim step, it seems to be worthwhile.

Building a Bridge One Bit at a Time

One of our work projects includes the construction of a long span bridge for the light rail line to run over.  I have been down on many occasions since the construction started on this section but much of the early work was the preparation of the ground and the creation of the foundations for the final bridge.  We now have the piers in place and the construction of the bridge itself is underway.

This type of construction involves casting the bridge in sections in place rather than offsite and then bringing them in.  Steel supporters called travelers, hold the formwork in place as each section is cast.  When it is cured, the traveler moves out onto the new section and the process is repeated.  This happens symmetrically about the pier, so the bridge grows out in both directions at once keeping everything balanced.

The process moves quite quickly so, each time I go down, the bridge has got noticeably larger.  There are actually to sections happening at once to make the two halves of the bridge.  They grow towards each other, and the final casting will connect the two cantilevered spans to complete the bridge.  That will happen later in 2024.  The section of the bridge is hollow so it will be possible to access the insides of it in the future.  If I get a chance to go inside at some point, expect more images here.

Riding the E Line in LA

My morning trip to the California Science Center could have involved a quick Uber ride but, since I was in LA to discuss light rail projects, it seemed more appropriate that I take the train down there.  The station wasn’t too far away, and the E Line dropped me off right next to the park.  Whenever I am using some form of transit, I do try to get a photo or two. You never know when they might be useful for a presentation or for adding to a proposal.

Some Heavy Construction Equipment

In a previous post, I showed some construction work underway on a project I am involved with.  This involves building a long span concrete bridge and the first steps are drilling the shafts into which the concrete will be poured to form the base for the columns upon which the bridge will ultimately rest.  Watching this from a distance, you don’t quite get the scale of what is involved.  However, when on site, you really get close to the heavy machinery that is necessary for this type of project.  I thought I would share some shots of this serious gear since I was able to get access to it.

Preparing for a Major Bridge Structure

One of the projects I am involved with includes some significant civil engineering and construction work.  Part of this is to build a long span bridge across a dip alongside an interstate.  The work is progressing quickly so things are changing fast.  By the time this post goes live, there will be a lot more to see on the site.  However, when I took these shots, they were preparing to pour to concrete shafts that will support the bridge piers.  The amount of work in preparing the area to stabilize the ground, drill the shafts, have access to the site and have the abutments at each end is huge.  Here are some shots of the work underway at that point.

Lots Of Light Rail Trains Ready To Go

I visited the Sound Transit operations and maintenance facility in the south part of Seattle for meeting recently.  This is the original facility but they have added one in Bellevue and another will be built in Federal Way in the coming years.  Plenty of the trains were parked in the storage tracks including the original cars and the new ones getting delivered by Siemens for the extensions due to open soon.  Too good to pass up the chance to grab some shots with my phone.

Light Rail Shots for Work

A work requirement needed some photos of a project in which we are involved.  We provided he pictures but the team requiring them had an issue with the images we had an wanted something new.  When we couldn’t find any more, the easiest thing was to take some.  I was heading in the right direction one day so stopped off to take some shots of the Sound Transit Link light rail system.  I figured I would share a little of them here too for the rail fans amongst you.