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First Hill Streetcar Construction is Substantially Complete -
Streetcar Testing & Startup to Follow

Preparations are underway to begin service on the First Hill Streetcar Line, a new urban mobility option funded through Sound Transit’s “ST2” mass transit expansion plan. The First Hill Streetcar will support economic growth and strengthen connections among the places where people live, work and socialize. It will be an important link in the regional transit system, and will connect the diverse and vibrant residential neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown ID and Pioneer Square. The system will provide reliable, frequent service with headways of approximately 10 minutes during peak periods. Service will operate 5 AM to 1 AM Monday through Saturday. On Sundays and holidays, service will operate 10 AM to 8 PM.

A fleet of six streetcars will support this service, with three to five streetcars in operation during the service day. The streetcars are supplied by Inekon, the Czech company that built the streetcars that have operated on Seattle’s South Lake Union Line since 2007. Three of the cars are being assembled in the Czech Republic and three are being assembled by a local labor force at Seattle’s First Hill Streetcar Operations and Maintenance Facility.

As previously announced, the manufacturer of streetcars for the First Hill Line has failed to meet the delivery milestones for the six-vehicle fleet, which has delayed both testing and the start of passenger service. SDOT is assessing liquidated damages against the contract price and tracking the manufacturing progress on a daily basis. SDOT cannot establish an opening date until we are satisfied that the manufacturer can meet commitments to a revised schedule for all six vehicles.

The first car was tested in the Czech Republic in December and is now en route to Seattle via ship; you can track its progress at

For more information on performance testing of the first car, see Battery Drive System Impresses in First Test of New Streetcars

For more information on the testing and startup process, see First Hill Streetcar Testing and Startup Overview

Project Status

Now that construction is complete on the project we will no longer issue project updates. To receive future updates, on such subjects as testing, training and operations, please add your name to our email distribution list using the “Stay Connected” box to your right.

View July Substantial Completion Update: Click here

View June 17 Construction Update: Click here

View past Construction Updates: Click here


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Driver information:

These links will take you to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Weekly update of construction closures in Seattle

Sound Transit Construction to Constrict Traffic Lanes on Broadway

The west side of Broadway between E Denny Way and E Howell Street will remain closed to vehicular traffic until the second week of October in order for Sound Transit to build the underground pedestrian concourse from the west side of Broadway to their Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station on the east side of the street. During this period, traffic has been shifted to the east side of Broadway and has been reduced to a single lane in each direction. In addition, the northern most block of the Broadway Cycle Track, between Denny Way and Howell Street, is also closed. (The track between Howell and Union remains open.)

In mid-October, the work will shift to the east side of Broadway. Traffic will continue to be limited to a single lane in each direction until the underground concourse construction is completed. Questions about the Sound Transit work can be directed to 206/398-5300 or email at

Cyclists should continue to utilize the bike detour on 12th Avenue.


Project Area Mao
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The City of Seattle is building a modern streetcar network that will provide new urban mobility options, support economic growth and strengthen connections among the places where people live, work and socialize.
The First Hill Streetcar Line will be an important link in the regional transit system. It will connect the diverse and vibrant residential neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown ID and Pioneer Square, while also serving major medical centers (Harborview, Swedish, and Virginia Mason), institutions of higher learning (Seattle Central College and Seattle University) and major sporting event venues (CenturyLink & Safeco Field).

To view before and after images, click here

First Hill Streetcar Project Scope
This is a major transportation infrastructure project. Construction began in spring 2012 and passenger service is expected to begin in early 2015.

The primary elements of construction have been completed including:

  • Removal of the existing roadway
  • Installation and/or relocation of existing utilities
  • Excavation for the streetcar trackway
  • Installation of the streetcar tracks
  • Replacement of the street and sections of sidewalk
  • Overhead wires and traffic signal work
  • Final street restoration and installation of permanent street markings

Testing the streetcar system includes these elements:

  • Inspection, testing and adjustments of the overhead electrical system that will power the trains
  • Testing of the streetcars
  • Training of streetcar operators
  • Streetcar operations

What to expect during the testing phase:

  • Streetcars operating without passengers for testing and training
  • Long-term parking and loading restrictions around work zones
  • Lane restrictions
  • Full intersection closures on weekends
  • Nighttime and weekend work

Project Funding

In November 2008, voters in the Puget Sound area approved "ST2," the mass transit expansion plan for our region. This measure builds on the Sound Move plan approved in 1996 to expand light rail, commuter rail and express bus service in our region. The ST2 Plan includes funding for the First Hill Streetcar connector project, which links employment centers to the light rail system via connections on Capitol Hill and in the International District.

Project Contacts


go to first hill main page go to South Lake Union main page go to Broadway Extention main page go to Center City Connector main page