Link Light Rail SeaTac Airport Grand Opening

Saying that E is obsessed with Seattle's Link Light Rail would be an understatement. He learned to write by copying the station names off of a Light Rail map. His own train set is in almost constant use, and his teachers say that he has designated different areas on the playground as Light Rail stations and stops at each as he rides a scooter around during recess. For the past few months, he's been reminding everyone that the new SeaTac Airport station would open on December 19th. It's a bigger deal than his own birthday would be.

Here is what he didn't know, a few months ago I posted pictures of the kids at a Light Rail station and Heather Poole also posted a video of E dragging her on the light rail during her Seattle layover. Apparently, the video and pics made the rounds at Light Rail headquarters. On one of our (frequent) train rides, Bruce, a Media Relations rep for the Light Rail recognized him. My sweet son is light rail famous. Bruce and I chatted quickly, he followed up with some great info about the station art, and finally I begged him to invite us to the SeaTac Airport Station grand opening. Bruce is a dad, and a really nice guy, and I will always be grateful that he agreed.

E and I got up early, and I surprised him with the news that we'd be headed to the Light Rail opening - just the two of us.

Here are some shots from opening day. There was also music and apparently the Rockettes made an appearance. I wouldn't know about that, though, because we spent the entire event standing at the base of the escalator. E absolutely had to be the first in line and make it on that first train. I'm glad to know that he can wait so patiently, even in cold weather, when he needs to!

E waiting to be allowed up to the train platform
E waiting to be allowed up to the train platform

When you are learning to read, a sign like this is fascinating - but even more fascinating was the fact that the first train crashed right through it.

The first train drove right through this sign
The first train drove right through this sign

Look at the crowd. Besides us, there were the mainstream media and people who had helped build the station and the light rail track. And yes, there were other kids.

Mainstream Media at Link Light Rail SeaTac/Airport Station Grand Opening
Mainstream Media at Link Light Rail SeaTac/Airport Station Grand Opening

And yes, we did make it on that first train! I'm not sure when I've seen E look happier. He was absolutely glued to the window, memorizing every inch of new track, for the first 20 minutes or so of our ride.

The first Light Rail train leaving the station
The first Light Rail train leaving the station

It has taken a while for this all to sink in for E. He asked questions for days - "Will there be a first train again tomorrow?", "Will the SeaTac airport station be open next week?", and marveled over the fact that "Tukwila station isn't the last stop anymore." and then finally he got it - this was a really special event. He is just beginning to tell people how amazing it was to be on that very first train. I'm betting that this day will be among his earliest childhood memories.

The Light Rail really is a lot of fun for kids, and we've enjoyed exploring all the stations over the past several months. Come back on Wednesday for my guide to what to do at each Seattle Link Light Rail Station with kids.

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  1. Carol on January 11, 2010 at 6:29 p.m.

    we're not usually commuting here. we get to places using our car. my little tot has pretty much developed his fascination with cars - i presume because of this exposure. i will, in the coming months, gather up enough courage to take the train. i'm pretty sure he'll like it, too - based on the look on your kiddos face.

  2. Sarah V. on January 12, 2010 at 7:46 a.m.

    What a cute story! Our daughter loves trains too. We took the little monorail at the Dallas airport several times one day when we had a long layover.

    Isn't it wonderful that kids appreciate the simple things in life?

  3. Bruce Gray on January 13, 2010 at 4:05 p.m.

    Thanks for the kind words! We all get a kick out of how much your kids love Link. See you and your crew on the trains!

  4. Patricia VedBrat on January 16, 2010 at 7:06 p.m.

    How many stops do you think reasonable to hit in a day. I am thinking about taking the kids on an adventure, but having some expectation on my part would be helpful.

  5. Debbie on January 16, 2010 at 9:21 p.m.

    I think it's reasonable to stop at one or two stations in a day. How far they'll want to ride depends on how much they like the ride and how able they are to sit still. It's a long ride from Westlake to SeaTac, and I'd say that 1/2 that distance would probably be enough for most kids.