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Puget Sound Transportation Projects

Sounder - Ride Report

I was able to try the Sounder on Wednesday December 2nd, taking the 8:01 train from Tacoma and the 4:40 train back from Seattle. I went with a friend of mine to spend the day in Seattle. I also wanted to see what taking the Sounder was like, as I am considering it for commuting to future jobs.

The morning was cold and foggy. We left immediately on time. The train was not full at all but per the engineer, the last train of the day usually isn't that busy, and we would pick up more riders as we went on. We were able to sit in the cab car and look out the front for the entire trip.

The car, designed by Bombardier, is split into an upper and a lower deck, with intermediate sections in the ends where the cars connect. You enter into the lower deck, which includes a bathroom and a small sink with drinking water, and can take a short flight of stairs up to the intermediate deck. There are a few seats there and the stairs up to the upper deck.

Seats are comfortable. Most had a table between them with a power outlet, convenient for laptop use. Some cars also had onboard WiFi connections as well. Room for baggage was provided above the seats, as in a airplane or long distance bus. Nothing ever felt uncomfortable or crowded.

On our way up to Seattle we picked up a few riders at each station, with the largest amount at Kent Station and the second largest at Auburn Station. The train arrived and departed within a minute of its scheduled times. We arrived in downtown Seattle at 9 am as planned, where we had a quick breakfast.

King Street Station in Seattle is located right on the edge of downtown, but right across the street from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and many other bus routes are within a block or so. From here we were able to take buses in the tunnel (for free) and head down to Westlake. We also were able to head to the Seattle Center using the Monorail from Westlake. This combination of options allows access to much of downtown.

The return trip we rode on the upper deck and it was uneventful. The trip was well worth it, much easier and arguably cheaper, than driving into downtown and parking, With its rigid schedule, convenient access and telecommuting options (power outlets and WiFi) the Sounder would be a great asset for commuting to any job in Downtown Seattle. If the line were extended to the Eastside it would be a great asset for those employees and employers as well.



Sound Transit Sounder Commuter Rail - Tacoma to Seattle from Ben Brooks on Vimeo.