TriMet apologizes for MAX flooding, service delays

TriMet says one train is back in service, work continues on the others

A MAX train went through the water underneath the Morrison Bridge, Oct. 31, 2015 (Screen grab from video taken by KOIN 6 viewer Kate Kralman)
A MAX train went through the water underneath the Morrison Bridge, Oct. 31, 2015 (Screen grab from video taken by KOIN 6 viewer Kate Kralman)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — TriMet is apologizing for MAX disruptions caused by trains that flooded when driven through heavy water Saturday.

According to TriMet, a dozen trains have been taken out of service to check for damage. An internal investigation is underway to determine if any drivers violated protocols by driving trains through standing water at the height of the Halloween storm.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane has issued the following statement:

“While conditions were changing rapidly during Saturday’s heavy rain storm, it is clear that an error in judgment was made to advance that train through standing water of that depth. We are conducting an internal investigation to determine if appropriate protocols were followed, and/or if the protocols need to be changed given this incident. We are also working with the Oregon Department of Transportation on this review, as ODOT is the oversight agency on behalf of the Federal Transit Administration.

“The train involved in this incident remains out of service while crews conduct a thorough inspection and make any necessary repairs. We also have about a dozen other trains that were impacted by pooled water along the tracks. These trains are also being inspected and we will make any necessary repairs. With these trains temporarily out of service, it means some trains are running as a single car, rather than the typical two-car set. This is causing more crowding onboard, and we appreciate our riders’ patience while we work to return those trains to service as quickly as possible.

“We are looking to see if video is available from inside the train, but it may take a day or two to process.

“Again, we will implement any recommendations from the internal and ODOT review to prevent this from reoccurring. Our sincere apologies for the service disruption and inconvenience our riders experienced.”

A MAX train went through the water underneath the Morrison Bridge, Oct. 31, 2015 (Screen grab from video taken by KOIN 6 viewer Kate Kralman)
A MAX train went through the water underneath the Morrison Bridge, Oct. 31, 2015 (Screen grab from video taken by KOIN 6 viewer Kate Kralman)

Saturday afternoon’s heavy rain caused Portland’s combined sewer system to overflow, sending sewage into the Willamette River.

The deluge also flooded some downtown area streets, forcing the Portland Streetcar to stop running. TriMet replaced the streetcar’s North/South Line, A Loop and B Loop with bus shuttles due to flooding.

TriMet also said MAX Blue and Red lines were blocked because of high water under the Morrison Bridge, although KOIN 6 viewer Kate Kralman caught one MAX train driving through the water.

Shuttle buses were used to serve MAX stations between Providence Park and Rose Quarter Transit Center.

Other MAX lines also delayed because of high water throughout the area.

Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services reported Oct. 31 that the rain blowing through the city caused combined sewers to overflow into the river. Bureau officials said people should avoid contact with the river from the Sellwood Bridge to the Willamette’s confluence with the Columbia River near Kelley Point Park.

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