Light Rail returns to normal service as crews finish repairing hole

May 9, 2023, 5:46 AM | Updated: 6:49 am

Westlake Station light rail hole...

Sound Transit's Westlake Station (Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)

(Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)

Update 5/9 5:35 a.m.:

The Link Light Rail is now operating normally, Sound Transit said, as they complete their repairs on the hole caused by renovations of a clock two weeks ago.

Starting Monday, Sound Transit said trains will run every 10 minutes with no more transfers at Pioneer Square, and service is now fully back to normal by Tuesday, May 9.

Original 5/5:

Sound Transit said it may be able to restore full train service under downtown Seattle by next week after damage to the Westlake Station ceiling was found last Friday.

The damage was more significant than Sound Transit originally thought, which prompted the agency to close the platform and make commuter adjustments accordingly.

Clock removal leads to weeks of inconvenience for light rail riders

Crews began work on the repair Friday May 5, and are hoping to be done by sometime next week.

Ben Bridge Clock hired a construction crew to relocate a clock from 4th Avenue and Pine Street to 4th Avenue and Pike Street, but unfortunately, the crew caused a hole in the Westlake station’s ceiling.

“So Friday evening, we changed the way passengers had to transfer. We sort of cut out that section where people get off at Capitol Hill and transferred them to a train that was running just through the downtown stations,” Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said in an update. “Now that all the trains, both from the north and the south, are terminating at Pioneer Square Station, that’s where you have to make your transfers.”

To clarify, riders will have to stop at Pioneer Square, go up the stairs, and make their way to the other platform.

“We’re trying to make that work so that there’s like three to five minutes to connect to the train that’s heading in the opposite direction so that you can make a transfer and make it work on your time, and you’re not waiting for trains,” Gallagher continued.

Gallagher also said the team placed some extra protective containment between the roof beams to make sure no weather debris could fall through.

“Our engineers came in to look at the damage and they found more severe damage to the wood structure than we originally thought,” Gallagher said. “And given the unknown risk of the beam stability, the need to remove the debris that was ponding on the protective membrane, that’s why we’ve made the decision to close the station platform.”

As it stands, Sound Transit has a contractor hired to work under emergency authority and is planning a temporary repair this week. In the meantime, Sound Transit is not able to open the northbound platform area at Westlake until it’s fixed.

Free healthcare clinic to aid Washingtonians who can’t afford healthcare

For riders who find this inconvenience too much to bear, they can take the King County Metro instead.

“We are really grateful for how patient passengers have been for understanding that this is an unplanned outage that we had to undertake for safety reasons,” Gallagher added. “And we’ve been doing our best to minimize the impacts. That’s why we made this most recent change.”

Right now, one train, instead of two is running through the tunnel, reducing travel times for riders, who also have to make a train change to get through downtown.

Follow Micki Gamez on Twitter or email her here.

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Light Rail returns to normal service as crews finish repairing hole