See ya, Tacoma Link. Sound Transit retitles streetcar line with new colorful name

Tacoma is orange, and Seattle is seeing red.

Those are the designations that Sound Transit has given to Tacoma and Seattle Link lines.

And buh-bye “Tacoma Link.” The entire Tacoma-Seattle system will just be called Link.

Don’t expect new signs in Tacoma until 2022, Sound Transit said. That’s when six new stations open on the street car line that is being expanded to the Stadium District and Hilltop.

“The name Tacoma Link will be retired, and it will just be known as the Orange Line,” said Sound Transit spokesman Scott Thompson.

The new color designations became official Sept. 21, Sound Transit said. The move came in preparation for an expanding system.

“With East Link opening in 2023, which will be known as the Blue Line, we will have another line coming into downtown Seattle in addition to our main line,” Thompson said.

Giving color-coded names to mass transit lines is nothing new. Systems all over the world use colors to differentiate their lines.

Tacoma is in good standing with its pumpkin-hewed color. Orange is the London Tube’s main line as it is in Washington D.C., where it comes within three blocks of the White House. New York, which long ago ran out of color options, has four lines in the orange category that run underneath 6th Avenue.

Sound Transit staff chose the colors based on other transit agencies and assigned them to routes so that they contrasted against each other, Thompson said.

“We didn’t want to put an orange next to a red, for instance,” Thompson said.

Currently, the Red Line runs from the University of Washington to Angle Lake station. In 2036, the Red Line will run from Everett to West Seattle.

With only one line running, the Orange Line designation won’t help Tacomans until 2030. That’s when another Link line will reach the city from Seattle via Sea-Tac Airport. It will be called the Green Line.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.