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Link light rail line in Seattle’s U-District back running after train stops, riders left stranded

SEATTLE — The Link light rail line in Seattle’s University District is back running again after a train, with passengers on board, suddenly stopped after the Apple Cup.

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded and scrambled through the tunnels to get out. This was after communications were shut off.

At approximately 8:25 p.m., the train became disabled in the northbound tunnel between the University of Washington and U District stations.

Sound Transit officials said there was an electrical issue from a severed cable that connected the lead train car and three trailing cars.

The severed cable prevented the train operator from communicating with the passengers by intercom.

Many fans coming from Husky Stadium used the emergency exits, taking matters into their own hands.

Daniel Heppner shared videos and photos with KIRO 7 showing his fellow passengers walking in the tunnel to get out after their train stopped.

Heppner said there was no information or explanation given to passengers about what happened.

At the time of the incident, Sound Transit provided a service alert, which said, “One line is experiencing service delays due to a mechanical issue.”

After passengers used emergency exits to leave the train, Sound Transit followed its safety procedures by suspending service in both tunnels until these passengers could be removed safely via a rescue train.

“Something did cut through that line. And what that was will have to be determined by an investigation,” said John Gallagher, a spokesperson for the transit authority.

When asked if the incident was suspicious in nature, with the possibility of someone cutting a cable, Gallagher replied: “No, there’s no reason to believe that’s true at all. Right now, at this time, it really seems to clearly be a case of an accident.”

Sound Transit apologized Saturday to all riders who were impacted but stressed that getting out of a train and walking through a light rail tunnel is not safe.

The transit authority is looking into how it can improve its communication system so that riders on board can be alerted to proper protocols should anything similar arise again.

Gallagher told KIRO 7 that nothing like that has happened in the three years he has been at Sound Transit.

He said the issue is related to the trains and not the new link extension that was just opened in the U-District, Roosevelt and Northgate in early October.

There were no injuries reported. Sound Transit will be coordinating an investigation of the incident with King County Metro Transit operations and maintenance contractors.