Seattle’s first light rail stations to open since Sea-Tac Station in 2009 open this Saturday March 19th, at 10 a.m. Capitol Hill Station and the University of Washington Station at Husky Stadium are at this point opening 6 months ahead of schedule and $200 million under budget.

Ulink Train

The Urbanist was invited to a media preview of both stations and the less-than-4-minute trip between them on Tuesday. The squeaky clean stations are currently undergoing their final polish to get ready for the big day, which includes festivities at both new stations, food trucks, and bus shuttle service every 15 minutes between Husky Stadium and Northgate Transit Center.

Initial impressions: the stations are deep, particularly UW station, which has a sub-mezzanine that Sound Transit calls “the chamber” before you get to the final escalator to the station platform. These stations will be able to handle gigantic crowds.

The trip between the two stations can feel like warp speed when you consider the amount of time it can take to travel between the distance covered currently. A full trip between UW and the airport is estimated to take 46 minutes.

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Capitol Hill Station Escalator.

Capitol Hill Station Art

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Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff and King County Executive Dow Constantine kept their remarks very brief, but were clearly elated to be able to begin service on the line, which was funded as a part of the first Sound Transit ballot initiative, Sound Move, in 1996.

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Executive Dow Constantine addresses members of the press at UW. Note the station art by Leo Saul Berk.
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Here’s another look at the Husky Station art by Leo Saul Berk that impressed Charles Mudede. I bet he’s really hoping it doesn’t turn into a gum wall.
The UW station is large and has several ticket machines on the first platform.
This is one escalator ride down from Husky Stadium. Two more long escalators to go to reach the platform.
Display screens appear ready to display real time arrival information.
Display screens appear ready to display real time arrival information. Six minute peak headways is going to be very nice.
This is where Pamela will break through it finishes boring the tunnel to allow Link to continue northward to the University District.
This is where the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) known as Brenda and Pamela will break through and lay to rest when they finish boring the twins tunnel to allow Link to continue northward to the University District and beyond. Technically this is on the Northgate Link side of the demising wall with the ULink.

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Doug Trumm is the Publication Director at The Urbanist. He joined the exodus to Seattle in 2014, leaving behind his home state of Minnesota. Living on disputed land between Wallingford and Fremont, he is doing his best to improve both neighborhoods. He is a grad student at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and a marketing intern at King County Metro. His views are his own and do not represent his employer.
Ryan Packer lives in the Summit Slope neighborhood of Capitol Hill & has been writing for the blog since 2015. He reports on multimodal transportation issues, #visionzero, preservation, and local politics. He believes in using Seattle's history to help attain the vibrant, diverse city that we all wish to inhabit.