Trainspotting with NPI: Watch Link Test Trains Traverse the Eastside with Overhead Power :: NPI’s Cascadia Advocate

Over the past week, NPI has been giving our social media followers a treat: clips of Sound Transit Link light rail trains testing between three different stations in Bellevue. The trials are part of a system trial that Sound Transit began last month to prepare for the inauguration of revenue service on its second light rail line in 2023.

Today we are thrilled to bring our “Trainspotting with NPI” series to the Cascadia Advocate for the delight of our supporters and readers.

Each clip in our Trainspotting series is less than two minutes long and shows Sound Transit VLRs made by Kinkisharyo rolling along portions of the new East Link/Line 2 alignment using overhead power.

So far, Sound Transit has run its tests exclusively at night, so we’ve only seen the trains run in low-light conditions. Fortunately, we were able to record many high quality images while we were in the field!

Let’s come to the clips. Note that none of these videos have sound.

I: Leave the source district

This clip shows a test train leaving the Spring District/120th station in the Bel-Red neighborhood. This station uses a trench configuration, with the tracks and station platform located below street level.

II: Head west between Wilburton and downtown

This clip shows a test train going west on the elevated tracks between Wilburton and Bellevue Downtown, preparing to cross Interstate 405.

III: Entering downtown Bellevue

This clip shows a test train entering Bellevue Downtown station, which is located next to Bellevue City Hall. Bellevue Downtown marks the transition in alignment from elevated to underground. The station itself is on the surface.

IV: Heading east between downtown and Wilburton

This clip is similar to Part II, except it shows a train going east on the elevated tracks between Wilburton and Bellevue Downtown instead of west.

V: Enter Wilburton

This clip shows a test train entering Wilburton Station, located near Overlake Medical Center, Whole Foods and many car dealerships.

VI: close view (westward)

This clip is similar to Part II, except it was made using a higher focal length to provide a closer view of the train as it rounds the bend.

VII: Closer view (looking east)

This clip is similar to Part IV, except it was made using a higher focal length to provide a closer view of the train as it rounds the bend.

Sound Transit’s East Link/Line 2 is scheduled to open in mid-2023, adding service to ten new stations located in Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond.

Harry D. Gonzalez