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Normal light rail service resumes after Westlake Station damaged during construction

Trains are running every 10 minutes on Monday, but Sound Transit expects service to resume its normal eight-minute frequency by Tuesday.

SEATTLE — Sound Transit said its riders should expect regular services Monday morning, over a week after construction damage to a station interrupted service. 

The Link light rail returned to regular service Monday, with trains running every 10 minutes instead of the normal eight minutes while service ramps up, according to Sound Transit. The agency expects trains to run at its normal eight-minute frequency during peak hours on Tuesday. 

Sound Transit told its riders on April 27 that crews on the street broke through the roof of the tunnel above the Westlake station. There were no injuries, but Sound Transit determined the damage was more significant than originally thought and altered its service for the safety of passengers. 

Julie Timm, Sound Transit CEO, said contractors were repairing a clock tower at the station when the damage to the station happened. 

Repairing the damage enough to resume normal train service took an "all-team effort," Timm said. 

"It was an unexpected emerging situation when the contractor working above the surface of the tunnel broke through," Timm said. "We had to act very quickly with an unknown situation. We had to call a state of emergency. We had to get a contractor on board who could construct safe scaffolding to get up to the ceiling area. We had to get up to the ceiling to see how bad the damage was and clean it out. Once we did that, we could make a determination of when to resume service."

Timm said there were safety mechanisms already in place at the Westlake station, including netting to collect debris. But some debris and water managed to fall through the nets, Timm said. 

Sound Transit interrupted its service because of the continued risk of falling debris. 

“Our containment system worked," Timm said. "Knowing that there was water coming through, and protecting that area and blocking it off, we did that immediately. It’s what protected our service, protected our staff, protected our riders.”

The latest news ended an unplanned period where riders needed to transfer stations following the construction mishap. While crews inspected the damage passengers were required to transfer at the Pioneer Square station if they were traveling in either direction beyond that point. There was only one train running at a time through the downtown Seattle tunnel for over a week as crews investigated. 

Sound Transit said construction work to repair the damage will continue, but riders should still expect normal service in the meantime. The agency did not say when the damage to the Westlake station would be fully repaired.

Rachelle Cunningham, a spokesperson for Sound Transit, said on April 29 that the situation was "beyond our control."

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