10 years in the making: Light rail service to rehearse Bellevue runs

Jan 26, 2024, 5:36 PM

Sound Transit live wire testing for East Link -- 2 Line BelRed...

Sound Transit expanding service for Fourth of July. (Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)

(Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)

Sound Transit is sending light rail trains on regular practice runs on the 2 Line between the South Bellevue and Redmond Technology stations (BelRed)– all in preparation for the Eastside starter line set to open later this year.

“This is called simulated service,” Sound Transit spokesperson Rachelle Cunningham said. “This is the last testing step before we can open. It’s scheduled to begin this week.”

She told KIRO Newsradio that once it kicks off, people can expect to see Link light rail trains between the Redmond Technology station and South Bellevue.

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“Pretty much every 10 to 15 minutes trains will test run,” Cunningham added. “I think it opens up a whole new group of folks who will probably start or become acquainted with Link for the first time. This will mean that people on the east side will be able to get around much more conveniently.”

What does this mean for BelRed residents?

The 2 Line will go between South Bellevue and the Microsoft campus in Redmond. Riders will be able to connect to the regional transit network buses from the South Bellevue station that will eventually take people into downtown Seattle. According to Cunningham, the 2 Line will eventually run all the way from the International District/Chinatown Station in Seattle all the way out to downtown Redmond.

“Those are the extensions that will run between South Bellevue and over the I-90 bridge into Seattle,” Cunningham said. “That is expected to open sometime in 2025 as well as the downtown Redmond link extension, which is two more stations with Mary Moore and downtown Redmond.”

Transit-oriented development has already started with new housing and businesses near the 2 Line.

“There (are) businesses being built up near the stations all across the 2 Line,” Cunningham said. “There’s the Redmond BelRed area, the Spring District. There will be a lot of new places to live, sort of built around access to transit.”

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The BelRed 2 Line was supposed to open in 2023, but it has experienced multiple setbacks. The Lynnwood extension link is already testing trains. Sound Transit said it should officially launch sometime in the fall.

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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10 years in the making: Light rail service to rehearse Bellevue runs