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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Construction begins on Seattle's new streetcar line


On Monday, Sound Transit and Seattle city officials broke ground on the First Hill Streetcar.

The ceremony took place at the site of the future streetcar station that will serve Seattle University Swedish Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center and the First Hill Neighborhood. The city will build, and Sound Transit will fund, the $132.8 million project, Sound Transit officials said in a prepared statement.

The 2.5-mile line is scheduled to be open by spring 2014.

The route will serve employment centers, educational institutions, entertainment and sports venues, and residential neighborhoods while enhancing access to regional rail service like Link light rail and Sounder commuter rail.

"Our updated Transit Master Plan shows that we need to do better to connect Seattle's neighborhoods with high quality transit. And we are doing just that with projects like the First Hill Streetcar and planning to connect our streetcars through Downtown,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Stacy and Witbeck, the firm that previously built the city's South Lake Union line, will build the First Hill corridor. The six streetcar vehicles will be manufactured under a partnership between Inekon, a Czech Republic firm, and Pacifica of Seattle.