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Union blames MAX derailment on poor TriMet maintenance

The union representing most TriMet workers in blaming the recent derailment of a MAX train on poor maintenance.

Amalgamated Transit Union 757 Vice President Jonathan Hunt said the train that derailed was 17 years old and required more maintenance than it has been receiving. It derailed pilling out of the 82nd Avenue station when a set of wheels jumped the tracks.

“The derailment of the Max train on Monday, was the result of TriMet’s practice of deferring both maintenance and training in favor of system expansion and other expenditures,” Hunt said Wednesday.

TriMet has blamed the derailment on a faulty brake. But Hunt says it was caused by a broken bracken that should have been replaced during routine maintenance.

“The train was one of the seventeen-year old type 2 trains that were added to the system in 1997. Undercarriage overhauls of these type 2 trains are way past due. That overhaul would have replaced that bracket," Hunt said.

TriMet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane recently created a separate Maintenance Department. At the time, he said it was to improve service, not because of a growing maintenance problem.

“We can’t blame the mechanics or the front line managers. It’s upper management that decides what money will be spent and when,” Hunt said.