Ed­mon­ton LRT snarled by dam­age

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION - PAIGE PAR­SONS ppar­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/paigeepar­sons jwake­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/jon­ny­wake­field

ED­MON­TON The trou­ble with the trains came from above.

Dam­age to about 40 per cent of the city ’s LRT cars was dis­cov­ered dur­ing a rou­tine overnight in­spec­tion that led ETS to sus­pend ser­vice on the Metro Line Wednes­day morn­ing, and also cre­ated de­lays on the Cap­i­tal Line.

ETS branch man­ager Ed­die Ro­bar later said it was de­ter­mined that the pan­tographs on top of 40 of the city’s 100-car fleet had been dam­aged. A pan­to­graph is the in­stru­ment on top of the trains that de­liv­ers the elec­tri­cal cur­rent from the over­head wires to the train, he said.

The over­head wire setup is called the cate­nary, and, about a week ago, an arm in the cate­nary near 92 Street was dis­cov­ered to be out of place. The is­sue was fixed then, Ro­bar said, but for rea­sons that re­main un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the cate­nary arm dropped again and dam­aged a slew of pan­tographs.

In some cases, the pan­tographs bent, which could cre­ate a point of con­tact that could rip down the cate­nary, Ro­bar said.

“The rea­son why we take the ve­hi­cles off-line is be­cause we don’t want to have a cat­a­strophic fail­ure of the cate­nary sys­tem it­self,” he said.

Speak­ing at city hall Wednes­day, Mayor Don Ive­son said he’s con­cerned about the ex­tent of the dam­age to the cars and the ser­vice dis­rup­tion, but he’s glad that the in­spec­tion process caught the prob­lem be­fore things got worse, and that the re­lief bus ser­vice was able to help man­age the morn­ing com­mute traf­fic.

“Un­til we un­der­stand why this hap­pened, there’s not much point in spec­u­lat­ing, and I’m con­fi­dent our col­leagues in tran­sit are just work­ing to re­store the ser­vice and in­ves­ti­gate what hap­pened, and get ev­ery­thing back run­ning,” he said.

By Wednes­day af­ter­noon, ETS said ser­vice was back on both LRT lines, but that fewer cars were run­ning on Cap­i­tal Line. The tran­sit provider said south­bound re­place­ment bus ser­vice would be avail­able from the U of A to Cen­tury Park dur­ing the af­ter­noon rush hour.

Re­place­ment and re­pair of the bent pieces of the pan­tographs is un­der­way and Ro­bar said the cul­prit arm has al­ready been fixed. He said about four or five pan­tographs can be fixed per hour. Two dozen had been re­paired by 3 p.m. and were be­ing put back into ser­vice.

“We know we can fix the dam­age to the ve­hi­cles, and we can fix it quickly,” said Ro­bar.

The hope is to have full ser­vice back by Thurs­day, said Ro­bar.

In Au­gust 2016, pan­to­graph woes snarled com­muter traf­fic two days in a row, but Ro­bar said he’s never seen dam­age to this many trains at once.

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