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Originally published Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 8:55 PM

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45,000 ride Seattle's new light-rail system on opening day

Sound Transit carried an estimated 45,000 riders on its new Link light-rail trains today, the agency said. Agency officials said they were...

Seattle Times transportation reporter

Sound Transit carried an estimated 45,000 riders on its new Link light-rail trains today, the agency said.

Agency officials said they were pleased with the turnout. A dozen two-car trains were mostly full, but not packed, all day.

People typically waited about 20 minutes or less to board, but sometimes as long as 40 minutes midday at Tukwila International Boulevard Station.

The overall mood was cheerful, as riders leaned toward the windows to see Mount Rainier from elevated tracks, or the luminescent playing cards inside Beacon Hill Tunnel.

Train rides are free all weekend.

Service resumes Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The 14-mile, $2.3 billion route from Westlake Center to Tukwila will be followed by a two-mile extension to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by Dec. 31, and service to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in 2016. More lines will reach Lynnwood, Federal Way and Overlake in the early 2020s.

Mike Lindblom 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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