Tacoma Link Lightrail


About this Project

The ability to get around a community is one of the keys to growth. In the past, many people worked and played within a short walk of their homes. As time passed and cars became popular, communities became more spread out, and walking to a specific destination wasn’t always possible. In larger cities, street cars became popular for transporting people into the city centers where work, shopping, and entertainment were centered. But as cities have become more spread out, it often takes a couple of busses to get around.

In many larger cities, transportation goes beyond busses to include rail transportation. In Dallas, for example, the DART rail reaches the further corners of the city and connects to the train which goes out even further. If you want to get around Tacoma, you can use the Link Lightrail. Up until recently, the destinations were limited. But with the support of state and federal government agencies, this is changing. With five Link extension projects currently in construction, Sound Transit is set to more than double the regional light rail network—from 26 miles to 62 miles—within the next few years.

Cavalier Hotel Skylight
Skylight over pool Cavalier

The importance of transportation, other than cars, can not be understated. With public transportation travel to and from work is affordable. Access to schools and childcare along the routes makes it easy for working parents. And by using the rail instead of driving, congestion on city streets is lessened.

One thing you may not consider in all this transportation talk is how the city plans to keep the trains looking clean and tidy. If it’s not clean inside and out, people will be less inclined to take a ride.

Enter Crystal Structures.

In partnership with Lacey Glass of Lacey, WA we recently completed a clearly unique train car washing facility at the height of a challenging weather season.

The full glass wash bay was part of a larger $217 million Tacoma Link Extension project scheduled for completion in late 2022. The extension doubled the original length of Tacoma Link and includes six new platform stations designed to take travelers to popular destinations throughout the community.

How large is a train wash bay?

Improvements to the train’s operations and maintenance facilities were also part of the project scope, including the new eye-catching all-glass train wash. Surrounded by machinery and other industrial equipment, the beautiful beacon measures 22′ x 81′ and features insulated tempered glass and our 750-series, thermally enhanced framing system.

When it came time to install the structure, Crystal Structures leaned on Lacey Glass to help get the project done on budget and on time, utilizing Lacey’s local crew who was already familiar with the rules and regulations that come with working in the train yard at Sound Transit, Central Puget Sound’s Regional Transit Authority.

“It was a challenging install because we weren’t allowed to use a boom lift over the trains, said Phil Zeutenhort, Lacey Glass President. “We had to get creative and the weather wasn’t great.”

Zuetenhort has worked with a lot of manufacturers over his lengthy career and said he enjoyed working with Crystal Structures and would welcome the opportunity to partner again.

“We were able to navigate through any fabrication issues that came up early on in the project,” he said. “We ended up with a good relationship when the project was done and that says a lot.”

We suspect Tacoma Link may be the first business in the world to be the proud owner of a glass train wash!

The Tacoma Link is a really important project. Significant numbers of cars could be taken off the road each day as the walkability of the city increases in areas served by the Link Lightrail. Commercial areas near platforms will benefit from the increased foot traffic. The Link ensures that Tacoma residents will be able to continue to participate in the city and nearby communities without having to own a car.