The monorail turns 60 with a new station at Westlake

Monday, April 4, 2022

All photos by Steven H. Robinson

On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, the Seattle Center Monorail and partners, including The Seattle Kraken, hosted a special celebration marking the 60th birthday of the Seattle Center Monorail.

The event started at the redesigned Westlake Center Station and then proceeded to the Seattle Center Station for refreshments and promotional items.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Council President Debora Juarez and other dignitaries spoke at the event.
Bruce Harrell (Mayor of Seattle); Debora Juarez (Seattle City Council President); Marko Liias (Washington State Senate); Megan Ching (Seattle Center Monorail); Robert Nellams (Seattle Center); Jon Scholes (Downtown Seattle Association); were some of the dignitaries at the welcoming event.

The new Westlake lobby
Originally launched as part of the 1962 World’s Fair (during which it carried over 8 million riders), the iconic Monorail still typically carries over 2 million riders a year.

This will only grow now that about 3,000 Seattle Kraken fans are using it in each direction to get to Climate Pledge Arena from the Link Light Rail system and downtown parking garages.

The Monorail is an environmental success story, maximizing the use of existing capacity with its green electric operating system and low carbon footprint.

The train is in the platform
$7M of just-completed privately funded improvements at Westlake Station greatly increased Monorail system capacity to over 4,500 passengers per hour (PPH) per direction. 

More needs to be done at the Seattle Center Station to fully restore the system to its original 6000 PPH capacity.

SMS and Seattle Center are leading an effort to upgrade the Seattle Center Station in 2024 (the first time in 60 years) and fully restore the Monorail’s capacity.

The project is focused on capacity/accessibility improvements and overall modernization that will set the stage for many more years of high-capacity transit service.


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