Bearing issue leads to speed restriction for Charlotte light rail system
Equipment limited to 35 mph, will require part replacement that could take several years
Charlotte’s light rail fleet will need replacement of axle bearings, a problem that in the interim will limit it to a top speed of 35 mph.
Charlotte’s entire fleet of 42 light rail vehicles has been restricted to a top speed of 35 mph speed limit and will require replacement of axle bearings as a result of a fault discovered after a May 2022 derailment, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Interim Charlotte Area Transit System CEO Brent Cagle told the Charlotte City Council of the problem he learned of the issue two weeks ago, several months after moving into his position. Six bearings will need to be replaced on each of the Siemens Mobility S70 light rail vehicles for the Lynx Blue Line, a process that could take several years, although Cagle said his agency is working with Siemens to expedite the repairs. The issue is a failed seal on the bearing, which allows in water and corrosion.
The city is expected to learn the cost of the repairs at an April 10 meeting. The bearings are out of warranty, so the city will be responsible for the cost.
Cagle said maximum train speeds have been reduced from 55 mph and other mitigating measures are in place, “and we feel that in the vehicles that are running, we can catch the bearing issue before it becomes a catastrophic failure.”
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