Saturday/ the Light Rail UW-extension opens

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The two new stations that were added to the Light Rail system here in Seattle. [Map from the on-line Oregonian Times].
There is a lot of excitement here in Capitol Hill today with two new light rail stations opening : one here in my Capitol Hill neighborhood, and one more at the football stadium of the University of Washington. My friend Bryan and I did a round trip from Capitol Hill Station up to the University of Washington, down to Westlake in downtown Seattle, and back up again to Capitol Hill.   I was going to say the project came in 6 months early and $200 million under budget, but I see that comes with a big asterisk.  The original schedule and budget that voters had approved in way back in 1996, called for a $1.8 billion light rail line from the airport to the U-district, opening in 2006.   Instead, $2.3 billion was spent on a light rail line from the airport to Westlake Station (completed in 2009).  This extension cost an additional $1.8 billion.  I guess it is this part that came in under budget.

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Here is the main entrance at the Capitol Hill station. (Side note: There is actually no capitol building in Seattle. The Washington State capitol is in Olympia.)
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We’re making our way down to the Capitol Hill station platform. The pink and yellow artwork in the rafters is called ‘Jet Kiss’ – an art installation by Mike Ross, made from a pair of retired and cut up U.S. Navy A-4 Skyhawks.  (It is hard to get a good angle to take a picture from.  I will try again some other day!).
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Standing room only in the train. Once in the train, it’s just a 3 ½ minute ride up to the University of Washington station. The tunnel goes just under the Montlake cut, a shipping canal that links Lake Washington and Lake Union.
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The stations feature great tile work, which must have added to the construction cost. But I say : go for it. Make it look nice.
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This is the outside of the station at the University of Washington. The platform here
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This is the platform at the station at the University of Washington. The platform here can handle some 1,500 people – for those occasions when there is a football game at the stadium by the station.
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From the University of Washington Station, we went southbound back to Capitol Hill, and then stayed on the train to see the new section to the existing Westlake station. This is a new train car called ‘UW Station’ arriving at Westlake station, painted in a beautiful silver and purple.
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And here we have made it back full circle to Capitol Hill station, and we’re coming up the escalator to the ‘Walking Fingers’ artwork by local cartoonist Ellen Forney, professor at Cornish College of the Arts here in Seattle.

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