Sound Transit investigating incident where passengers on disabled train walked into tunnels

Nov 29, 2021, 8:49 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm
Light rail, Sound Transit...
A test train from the University District runs prior to the station's opening in October of 2021. (Sound Transit)
(Sound Transit)

Sound Transit is investigating an incident where a stopped train led to passengers exiting into the tunnels shortly after the Apple Cup last Friday.

Light rail finally reaches Northgate, a promise 25 years in the making

The light rail line was operating out of Seattle’s University District, when a train carrying hundreds of passengers suddenly stopped between stations after the Friday game at Husky Stadium. Communications reportedly shut off at the same time due to a severed cable that had connected the lead train and three trailing cars.

Passengers then opened the train’s emergency exits and walked into the tunnel. Sound Transit temporarily suspended all light rail service in the tunnel as a result, while it worked to safely remove people with a rescue train. After the fact, Sound Transit apologized for the incident, while also stressing that it is always unsafe to exit a train through the tunnels.

Moving forward, it will be “launching a thorough investigation of the incident to determine the root cause and address any future vulnerabilities.”

“The investigation will include review of measures to ensure passengers stay onboard the train during such incidents for their safety and how to better communicate with riders during service disruptions,” Sound Transit said in a written statement.

Photos: Sound Transit kicks off early phase of testing for East Link light rail

According to John Gallagher, Sound Transit’s spokesperson, there is “no reason to believe” the incident was suspicious in nature. It’s believed that the severing of the cable connecting the trains was “clearly” an accident, he told KIRO 7 TV, and that it was not related to the newly-opened light rail extension between the University District and Northgate.

Gallagher also noted that he had never seen an incident like this in his three years working for Sound Transit.

KIRO 7 TV staff contributed to this report.

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Sound Transit investigating incident where passengers on disabled train walked into tunnels