A person steps off the light rail at Northgate Station on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A person steps off the light rail at Northgate Station on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Sound Transit starts testing light rail on track bound for Lynnwood

Light rail is one step closer to opening in Snohomish County. Keen observers can expect to see trains testing more frequently.

LYNNWOOD — Sound Transit has begun testing its new light rail extension between Northgate and Lynnwood, a milestone on the way to its opening in Snohomish County this year.

On Monday, a test train was moving on the new line.

Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher confirmed it wasn’t a mirage.

“We are starting to do system testing with trains, so folks will be seeing them more frequently on the alignment both during daytime and nighttime hours,” Gallagher wrote in an email.

Months of safety testing and getting drivers familiar with the line are ahead until the service begins full operation this fall. Sound Transit has previously stated service should begin by this year’s third quarter.

Construction began on the 8½-mile Lynnwood Link extension in September 2019. It will include four new stations: one in Lynnwood, one in Mountlake Terrace and two in Shoreline.

Excitement for the extension is high among frequent transit riders. Many feel it will simplify their commute.

“Seeing the test trains approaching our station in person for the first time will be an excellent reminder of how far this project has come and what it means for our thriving city,” Lynnwood city spokesperson Nathan MacDonald said in an email. “Thank you to everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this milestone a reality. We are incredibly excited for this next phase of the project’s construction and can’t wait for the station’s completion this fall!”

Sound Transit projects daily ridership numbers between 47,000 and 55,000 passengers by 2026.

Transit agencies across the county have been gearing up for light rail. Community Transit will open its Orange Line on March 30, which will run from Edmonds College to McCollum Park. A major strategy for the transit agency moving forward is funneling commuters to light rail.

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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