US-based Sound Transit has commenced full simulated service on the Northgate Link segment just before its opening, which is scheduled for 2 October this year.
Moving forward, all Link trains will continue to operate without riders from University of Washington Station to Northgate.
The trains will run every eight minutes in each direction along the elevated lines during rush hours.
Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said: “The sight of trains running at regular intervals is a reminder of just how close we are to the opening of the Northgate Link extension. Starting 2 October, everyone will be able to enjoy fast, traffic-free rides from Northgate to downtown Seattle and beyond.”
These activities are being carried out under a pre-revenue service that started this month.
Pre-revenue is a period of intensive trials where stations, tracks, escalators, utilities elevators, systems and vehicles are tested before welcoming commuters.
Sound Transit said in a statement: “During simulated service, most riders won’t notice any differences during testing, but UW Station riders will notice some small changes. Instead of using both tracks to board trains, riders will board at the southbound track only and the northbound track will become drop-off only.”
The trains will not slow down for switching tracks just south of UW, which will result in shorter trips between Capitol Hill and UW.
Sound Transit is also working towards changing the names of the lines.
Starting next month, Link will become the 1 Line and Tacoma Link will change to the T Line.
Sounder South and Sounder North will become the S and N lines, respectively.
In 2023, after its opening, the East Link will function as a new 2 Line.
Sound Transit has already included these changes on board 1-Line (Link) vehicles and on station maps.
The project also includes new overhead signs, area maps, schedules, and other rider information change.
Furthermore, the Northgate Link extension will provide 14-minute transit services between Northgate and downtown Seattle.
Out of the 6.9km extension, nearly 1.2km of elevated tracks at Northgate are running underground.
In May this year, Sound Transit announced that it was ready to unveil its new Operations and Maintenance Facility: East (OMF East) in Bellevue to maintain and accommodate light railcars for regional link expansions.