Baltimore’s light rail service suspended temporarily for emergency inspections

BALTIMORE (AP) — Transportation officials in Maryland temporarily suspended light rail service in the Baltimore area Friday to perform emergency inspections of the whole fleet.

The Maryland Transit Administration announced Thursday afternoon that the suspension was due to a potential problem uncovered during a recent inspection, and the agency will initiate an accelerated inspection and correction plan. Shuttle buses will be provided at all stations.

Inspections and repairs for the agency’s 53 railcars, which are 24 to 31 years old, will begin immediately, MTA administrator Holly Arnold said at a news conference Thursday. Once at least eight railcars are available, limited service will be restored, and full service will resume once all repairs are complete.

Inspections performed after a Oct. 21 fire revealed that high-voltage conduits on the vehicles have been punctured, Arnold said. The agency also found problems with the cables that connect cars, which have caused six smoke events since 2021, she said.

The light rail system, which runs from Hunt Valley, north of the city, to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to the city’s south, sees about 10,000 riders per day, Arnold said.

Arnold said in a social media post on Friday that the teams have been “working nonstop on vehicle inspections and are beginning repairs.”

Thousands depend on the light rail, and city officials have been working to identify workaround solutions for residents, especially those in Baltimore’s historically underserved communities, and ensure that services resume in a timely manner, Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement.

“A prolonged suspension of services is simply unacceptable, and we will be doing everything in our power to ensure MTA addresses the necessary repairs as quickly as possible,” he said.

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