Seattle to lubricate noisy light rail tracks

Posted on February 26, 2010

Sound Transit contractors begin work this weekend to make light rail tracks in Seattle and Tukwila quieter. The work will take place overnight, mostly on weekends and may cause service delays between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Information on service interruptions will be available at all stations.

Contractors will begin installing automatic track lubricators along curving sections of the light rail tracks in Tukwila and the Rainier Valley in Seattle and will also modify a set of track switches in the Rainier Valley.

The solar-powered track lubricators automatically dispense a biodegradable gel across the tracks which lessens wheel squeal when trains pass over. The track switch work will also make them quieter as trains pass over.

Last fall Sound Transit determined that the noise levels along some sections of the light rail line between downtown Seattle and Tukwila were higher than anticipated. This work is designed to lower these noise levels.

Sound Transit contractors in December ground the surface of the rails and adjusted the rail profile in some areas to help lessen track noise.

The work begins Sunday night at 10 p.m. and is scheduled to finish in early May. All of the work will be done overnight to minimize service impacts. After 10 p.m. trains will run approximately every 20 to 30 minutes instead of every 15 minutes as normally scheduled.

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