Sound Transit will restore full light rail service by Thursday

A tile replacement job at the Columbia City station will be completed four days early, allowing Sound Transit to restore normal service Thursday morning, so trains will again arrive every 10 minutes via south Seattle.

This will improve capacity and convenience between Stadium Station and Angle Lake, including travel to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Trains south of Stadium Station have been limited to a 20-minute frequency as they take turns detouring around the northbound platform in Columbia City, which was originally scheduled to reopen on July 25.

This good news comes in time for three Seattle Mariners baseball games and a Sounders FC game this weekend, as well as the Capitol Hill Block Party, where thousands will arrive by train.

Brooke Belman, acting CEO of Sound Transit, thanked passengers for their patience in a statement. “Thanks to the hard work of construction teamwe are able to resume regular service sooner than originally planned,” she wrote.

The yellow tiles on the edges of the platform were cracking and peeling after only 13 years, earlier than expected. If not secured, they can cause slip and trip hazards. Sound Transit replaces them with larger tiles fixed by screws and not just adhesives.

Trains between Northgate and Stadium stations have consistently arrived every 10 minutes since tiling work began on July 11. Another round of tile replacements, on Columbia City’s South Platform, will result in detours from August 19 through September 1.

Similar repairs are planned for next year at nearby Othello and Rainier Beach stations, ahead of regional extensions to Federal Way, Lynnwood and Redmond by 2024 that will bring more people onto the trains.

This fall, 3 miles of worn overhead power cable will be replaced between Rainier Beach and Tukwila International Boulevard stations, disrupting service now to reduce train stops in the future, according to the agency.

Jose P. Rogers