Passengers at U District Station await as a train pulls in on Northgate Link's opening day. (Sound Transit)

Sound Transit has kicked off another round of maintenance-related light rail service disruptions on the Link 1 Line. This one will last about six weeks with varying levels of impacts as the agency readies the system for the future East Link and Federal Way extensions, and completes necessary state of good repair work. Doing the work now will create less systemwide impact, rather than doing it after the Lynnwood Link Extension opens on August 30. Service disruptions started on Sunday, May 12 and will extend through Tuesday, June 25.

Sound Transit has put out a handy diagram highlighting the changing service paradigms throughout the spring service disruptions.

Diagrams show the evolving impacts to 1 Line service in May and June. (Sound Transit)

Rail replacement every Tuesday

The largest system impact will start on Tuesday, May 14 to facilitate rail replacement. This will happen every Tuesday, reducing frequency of trains to every 20 minutes after 11:00pm until the end of service, through Tuesday, June 25.

Federal Way Link tie-in May 12-June 22

To support tie-in work for the Federal Way Link Extension and extra storage of Link vehicles, service is being significantly affected through Saturday, June 22 in a phased, alternating pattern.

An elevated platform looking south with electronic displays showing destinations.
SeaTac/Airport is temporary listed as the terminus of the 1 Line during six weeks of service disruptions. (Wes Mills)

The first phase of this started on Sunday, May 12 and will continue though Friday, May 31 with mainline 1 Line service terminating at SeaTac/Airport station. Riders wishing to travel between SeaTac/Airport and Angle Lake stations need to transfer to a shuttle train, which is operating every 16 to 20 minutes. After this first phase, the agency is planning to alternate disruptions as so:

  • Saturday, June 1 and through 10:00am on Sunday, June 2, a second phase of impacts will result in no service between SeaTac/Airport and Angle Lake stations. Riders would best served by traveling between the two stations via the RapidRide A Line, which will provide free rides during these periods.
  • Sunday, June 2 through Saturday, June 21, service impacts will revert back to the Airport to Angle Lake shuttle train, like the first phase.
  • Saturday, June 22 service will again terminate at SeaTac/Airport, same as the second phase, with free A Line service to compensate.

Columbia City tile work on June 1 and 2

Separately, Sound Transit will carry out another round of platform tile replacement work in the Rainier Valley. This will be centered on Columbia City, but fortunately involves only two days of work on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2. Those two days, trains will operate on reduced 20-minute frequencies between Stadium and SeaTac/Airport stations since only one track at a time will be open in and around Columbia City.

Consequently, southbound riders on trains that don’t operate through to SeaTac/Airport will need to get off at Stadium and wait for the next train that does. However, service north of Stadium won’t be impacted this disruption, providing combined 10-minute frequencies.

At Columbia City itself, only one platform will be open at a time, with the northbound platform closed on Saturday, June 1 and the southbound platform closed on Sunday, June 2. Riders will have to use the only open platform for both directions, so they’ll want to be aware which direction a train is going.

East Link tie-in work June 21-23 and this fall

Finally, Sound Transit will carry out East Link Extension tie-in work on two days in late June. This will force closure of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel from 10:00pm on Friday, June 21 through the end of service on Sunday, June 23. Shuttle buses will be put into service between Capitol Hill and SoDo stations every 10 to 15 minutes. 1 Line service will operate as essentially two separate lines from those stations to their terminals every 15 minutes.

Later this fall, however, Sound Transit has sketched out potential East Link Extension tie-in work. That could last several weekends in October and November. So, further substantive service impacts are on the horizon and could interfere with the 1 Line in the post-Lynnwood Link Extension environment.

Article Author

Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.