Photos: Sound Transit kicks off early phase of testing for East Link light rail
The East Link light rail line may not be opening until 2023, but Sound Transit is already beginning the early stages of testing.
As of this week, clearance testing for vehicles has kicked off along the eventual routes that will cover Mercer Island, Bellevue, and the Overlake area, while connecting to a Redmond station situated near a Microsoft campus. Clearance testing “involves slowly pushing or pulling trains along the alignment with a special ‘hi-rail’ vehicle,” Sound Transit described in a recent blog post.
“It’s essentially a large truck that can run on the rails,” it added.
If those tests go well, the next step will be to test out trains operating on their own power, likely sometime in 2022.
Work on the East Link is roughly 90% finished, and is on track to open in 2023. A light rail expansion for Hilltop Tacoma is expected to open in 2022, while additional expansions for Lynnwood and Federal Way will wrap up in 2024.