During this summer's long heat wave, regular riders of TriMet MAX Light Rail trains suffered slow rides, and complete service disruptions. Some of these were blamed on the heat; others were caused by a major glitch in the MAX computer-aided communications system.
But when, on August 1, the TriMet MAX Orange Line in Inner Southeast came to a complete halt – stopping a northbound train at what emergency first responders called the "Reedway Street Station" area (a station that has never been built) – this was not the fault of the computers or even the sizzling summer heat.
"A wire fell onto the southbound overhead [catenary] wires on the Orange Line at S.E. 17th and McLoughlin, and, initially, we thought it was one of our wires, so we immediately shut down power to investigate," explained TriMet Public Information Officer Tia York.
When the line fell across their wires, it tripped the MAX power substation, shutting the system down, and stopping the train before it could reach an actual station, York explained to THE BEE.
Portland Fire & Rescue Station 21's crew arrived in case paramedics were needed – but soon went back into service.
While emergency responders prepared to evacuate the train, and move the passengers to a bus on northbound McLoughlin Boulevard near Harold Street, inspectors checked the line, inspected their wires, and set about resetting the circuit breakers in the substation.
"The disruption lasted approximately one hour, and we thank those on board who stayed patient as we worked to safely get them off the involved trains, and back on their way," York said.