CEREMONIES to mark the opening of Sacramento’s 10·1 km South Line light rail extension were to be held on September 26. The $222m line from the city centre to Meadowview Road, with seven stations, has has been completed on time and on budget, according to Regional Transit District General Manager & CEO Dr Beverly Scott. It is the first phase of the South Corridor, although the 7·9 km Phase II to Elk Grove is still in the planning stage. The first phase is expected to be handling over 8000 passengers a day by 2005.

On August 22, Seattle’s Sound Transit opened its 2·6 km Tacoma Link tram line, connecting the Tacoma Dome Transit Center with South Ninth and Commerce streets in the city’s theatre district. Operated with three Skoda-built Astra low-floor LRVs providing a 10min interval service, the US$80m line is fare-free. A 400m extension to serve a new casino is already under discussion. ’This is a delicious taste of what’s going to be delivered north of here’, said Sound Transit Chairman Ron Sims, emphasising that construction work on the long-delayed Central Link light rail project in Seattle has finally started.

Sound Transit opened its Tacoma Dome station at Freighthouse Square on September 15, providing permanent facilities for Sounder commuter services to and from Seattle, which had been using a temporary platform at the nearby Amtrak station for the past three years. The new station provides a multi-modal interchange between Sounder, the Tacoma Link trams, and local, regional and long-distance bus services. Amtrak trains continue to use their own station a short distance to the east.