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Seattle light rail service is back to normal... for now

caption: A King County Metro bus station near a Sound Transit light rail station in the Seattle area.
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A King County Metro bus station near a Sound Transit light rail station in the Seattle area.

Rejoice, light rail riders. Regular service resumed on the 1 Line Monday morning.

Riders were pleased to get back to the regular schedule after three weeks of train repairs that caused significant delays and crowds, particularly during peak hours. Sound Transit wrapped up repairs on Sunday.

That's a relief for riders like James Warren, who commutes from his home in West Seattle.

"I'm a dedicated transit rider," Warren said. "I'm looking forward to getting back to full strength and the system being improved."

RELATED: The One Line is back... for now

According to Sound Transit, 500 feet of northbound tracks between University Street and Westlake were repaired at the sharpest curve in the entire light rail system. The rails were reportedly worn and would have become a safety hazard if they weren't replaced.

Crews also replaced damaged "bond boxes," which provide signal connections to the tracks, and worked on several smaller projects, including repairing some southbound sections of rail and cleaning artwork.

Sound Transit officials are well aware that riders' patience has been tested over the last few weeks.

RELATED: Seattle light rail is about to get heavy for those who don't pay the fare

"We really apologize to riders for that," Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said. "But this was work that we had to do. It's going to make the system more efficient. It's going to make the ride smoother for riders. So, it's just really part of the overall improvements that we need to do."

Riders should have a few months of uninterrupted service ahead, though more work is already on the horizon.

Gallagher told KUOW Sound Transit has plans for additional shutdowns this summer.

He said the downtown tunnel will be closed again for one weekend in June, so Sound Transit can work on the East Link extension, which will include 10 stations from Seattle's International District to Judkins Park, across I-90 to Mercer Island and South Bellevue, and through downtown Bellevue and the Bel-Red area to Redmond Technology Station.

KUOW's Patricia Murphy, host of Seattle Now, gave Sound Transit a C+ on the recent round of repairs, considering the long delays and general confusion. And according to Seattle Times' transportation reporter Mike Lindblom, the work coming this summer and later in the fall could pose even more challenges for Sound Transit.

Listen to Lindblom's full analysis on Seattle Now.

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