Falling leaves, wheel repairs disrupt light rail service

November 11, 2008|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,michael.dresser@baltsun.com

The Maryland Transit Administration reported "major disruptions" in light rail service yesterday because of falling leaves and an increase in the number of rail cars needing wheel repairs.

The MTA said the resulting shortage of trains would force it to discontinue some rail service and replace it with shuttle buses.

Similar problems arose last spring after the discovery of a cracked wheel forced the MTA to pull cars off the tracks for inspections. The transit agency said it expects this round of disruptions, including crowding and late trains, to last for about a week.

While the problem persists, northbound rail service will terminate at Timonium. Shuttle buses will serve the stations between there and Hunt Valley. Service between Mount Royal and Penn Station will also be suspended.

The MTA said the problems were the result of what it called "slippery rail season" - when leaves falling on the tracks are ground into a film that causes wheels to slide. The agency said its crews are testing a new method of pressure-washing the tracks at night.

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