Sound Transit Central Link
Sound Transit Central Link is the main light rail system owned by Sound Transit in the Seattle area. This light rail operation is currently under contract to King County Metro, while the owner of the line is Sound Transit. Central Link refers to the light rail system built in Seattle and it's surrounding suburbs. A separate system, called Tacoma Link, also uses the Link branding, but is a separate system with different voltage and train types.
Central Link currently has only one line, the 1 Line, which runs from Northgate Station to the north, via University of Washington, Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and Sea-Tac Airport to Angle Lake Station at the southern end.
This line will have a future connection to East Link.
- Northgate Station
- Roosevelt Station
- U District Station
- University of Washington Station
- Capitol Hill Station
- Westlake Station
- University Street Station
- Pioneer Square Station
- International District / Chinatown Station. Connection to East Link in 2023.
- Stadium Station
- SODO Station
- Beacon Hill Station
- Mount Baker Station
- Columbia City Station
- Othello Station
- Rainier Beach Station
- Tukwila International Boulevard Station
- SeaTac / Airport Station
- Angle Lake Station
In November 1996, voters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties approved increases in sales taxes and vehicle excise taxes to pay for a US$3.9 billion transit package that included $1.7 billion for a light rail system, including Central Link and Tacoma Link. The original 21 mile Central Link line approved started at Sea-Tac Airport, traveling north to downtown Seattle, and finally terminating at the University of Washington.
In 2001 the line was shorted to 14 miles, with the section from downtown to the airport being built. The section from downtown to the University of Washington was still going to be built but would open at a later date.
The initial section from Westlake Station to Tukwila International Blvd opened on July 18th, 2009. There was a shuttle bus contracted to be operated by Pierce Transit that took passengers from Tukwila International Blvd Station to Sea-Tac Airport. This service ended on December 19th, 2009, when the extension to the airport opened.
The ballot measure Sound Transit 2 passed in 2008 which approved extensions to Northgate by 2021, Bellevue by 2023 and Lynnwood by 2024. It also approved the extension to Angle Lake.
The ballot measure Sound Transit 3 passed in 2016. It approved extensions to Federal Way, downtown Redmond, Issaquah, South Kirkland, Ballard, West Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma. These extensions are planned to open between 2024 and 2040.
- November 1996 - Voters approve 21-mile light rail system.
- 2001 - light rail line shortened to 14 due to cost.
- 2008 - Sound Transit 2 approved.
- July 18, 2009 - Service starts from Westlake Station to Tukwila International Boulevard Station.
- December 19, 2009 - Service starts from Tukwila International Boulevard Station to SeaTac / Airport Station.
- March 19, 2016 - University link extension opened for service. Added Capitol Hill Station and University of Washington Station.
- September 24, 2016 - Angle Lake Station opened for service.
- November 2016 - Sound Transit 3 approved.
- March 23, 2019 - End of joint bus/light rail operations in the Downtown Transit Tunnel.
- September 21, 2019 - Section from University of Washington Station to Angle Lake Station renamed Red Line
- October 2, 2021 - Section from Northgate Station to Angle Lake Station renamed 1 Line
- October 2, 2021 - Northgate section opened, added U District, Roosevelt and Northgate stations.
Central Link light rail currently has extensions to Bellevue, Redmond, Lynnwood, Everett, Kirkland, Issaquah, Ballard, West Seattle, Federal Way, and Tacoma underway.
- Spring 2024 - S Bellevue/Overlake Technology
- Spring 2024 - OMF East
- Summer 2024 - Lynnwood
- 2025 - Downtown Redmond
- 2025/2026 - Federal Way, OMF South
- 2030 - Tacoma, West Seattle
- 2035 - Ballard
- 2036 - Everett, OMF North
- 2041 - South Kirkland, Issaquah
- 2 Line Starter Line South Bellevue - Downtown Bellevue - Overlake Technology
- 2 Line: Mariner - Ash Way - Lynnwood - Northgate - U District - Seattle - Bellevue - Redmond
- 3 Line: Everett - Lynnwood - Seattle - West Seattle
- 4 Line: South Kirkland - Bellevue - Eastgate - Issaquah
Sound Transit has ordered 152 Siemens S700 vehicles for its extensions to Northgate, Bellevue, Lynnwood, and Federal Way and to allow Link to operate 4-car trains. The Kinki Sharyo cars and Siemens cars will be able to connect mechanically so they can connect and move stuck trains, however will not be compatible electronically and will not be put in revenue service together. Sound Transit will also be building two more operations and maintenance facilities (OMF). One will be built in Bellevue between Wilburton and Spring District stations (OMF East) and one in south King County between Kent and Federal Way(OMF South).
Central Link Fleet
|101-135||2006-2008||Kinkisharyo||LRV||Mitsui 1500V DC|
|136-162||2011||Kinkisharyo||LRV||Mitsui 1500V DC|
Future Central Link Fleet