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Sound Transit tests trains on Northgate Link light rail ahead of September opening

Sound Transit started testing trains for the first time Monday on the new elevated light rail tracks in Northgate. The testing will continue for several months.

SEATTLE — People in north Seattle are a step closer to being able to hop on the Link light rail and go downtown or to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

Sound Transit announced it started testing trains for the first time Monday on the new elevated light rail tracks in Northgate. The trains are testing the overhead electrical power system that runs through the Northgate line.

Passenger service to and from Northgate is expected to open in September.

The testing will continue for several months, mostly during morning hours, according to Sound Transit. While most of the line is underground, drivers on I-5 will likely notice the trains at Northgate. 

Sound Transit said the results of the testing will determine whether any adjustments are necessary to the system to improve performance. 

Construction on the Northgate Link light rail extension began in 2012 with a baseline budget of $1.9 billion and a projected opening date of 2021. 

Sound Transit said when it's finished, the 4.3 mile regional light rail extension will offer riders traffic-free travel between Northgate and downtown Seattle in just 14 minutes. 

While this project continues, Sound Transit is also working to extend the light rail north, south, east and west. 

Sound Transit is expected to open service to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond's Overlake Community by 2023. Additional extensions to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Kent/Des Moines, Federal Way and downtown Redmond are planned in 2024.