CHOKEPOINTS

Light rail trains begin testing between Bellevue and Redmond

Oct 31, 2023, 1:14 PM | Updated: 3:44 pm

east link line vote Sound transit delay...

A train at the downtown Bellevue light rail station. (Photo: Sound Transit)

(Photo: Sound Transit)

Trains are coming to the east link light rail tracks, so watch out for the rail crossings.

Testing of the system begins Wednesday between downtown Bellevue and the Microsoft campus in Redmond.

More Eastside light rail news: Sound Transit unanimously approves East Link starter line to open spring 2024

“There are going to be light rail vehicles on the tracks between South Bellevue Station and Redmond Technology station pretty much anytime day or night,” Sound Transit’s Rachelle Cunningham said.

In August, the Sound Transit Board unanimously voted to run the 2 Line from Redmond to Bellevue, despite continued construction on the tracks connecting the line to Seattle. Connecting the East Link extension and the Downtown Redmond Link extension to the main 1 Line is expected for 2025.

This testing comes before simulated service testing, which is expected just after the start of the year.

“That will help train the operators and maintenance staff and allow for continued testing to make sure that all the systems and the tracks are working properly,” Cunningham said.

There are four at-grade crossings along Bell-Red Road. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians need to watch for those crossing arms and stay off the tracks. Trains always have the right-of-way.

Daily ridership, including the downtown Redmond extension, is projected to be between 43,000 and 52,000 passengers by 2026. Passenger service is expected to start in the summer.

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