Connecting communities and enhancing lives is what Valley Metro is here to do. Getting transit passengers to their destinations safely is our top priority at all times. Like everyone else, we must always follow the rules of the road—obeying traffic signals and being aware of what’s around us at all times. However, sharing the road with other vehicles can present challenges when they don’t heed basic traffic laws.

When train vs. car collisions do happen and trains need repairs, repairs are typically done at Valley Metro’s Operations and Maintenance Center. The goal is to get trains back out on the tracks as soon as possible. Before that happens, all of the boxes must be checked.

The first step is to give the train a thorough inspection.

Everything that makes the train tick must be verified. At the top of the list are the wheels, otherwise known as the trucks. Like any vehicle, if the wheels aren’t spinning, the vehicle isn’t going anywhere and that is the same for a light rail train.

Train trucks

A full safety inspection of every train includes the brakes, bumper, paint and other essential functions. Most collisions involving trains usually result in a bumper. The bumpers are designed to deflect objects, such as vehicles. Replacing the bumper and touching up the paint job is often the solution. There are bumpers on standby at the OMC should a change be needed. When that is the case, the train involved is usually able to return to service the following day.

Train bumper

Not only does the train need to be inspected but so does the track where the collision occurred. A maintenance team will inspect everything along the tracks, which include the rail in the trackway, the catenary pole and the catenary wires, along with other aspects of the alignment. When the area is deemed safe, trains may continue.

What is a catenary pole? Anyone who has either driven along the light rail tracks or has ridden in a train has likely seen one.

Catenary pole

The poles are essential to the function of the train as they support the catenary wire that powers the train and allows them to move along the tracks.

It takes a team of experts to keep the trains running smoothly and that is the goal at Valley Metro every day. Following the rules keeps you safe and us on the track.

John Zetmeir
Rail Operations Communications Specialist
Professional communicator and avid sports fan. Proud Kansas native enjoying life in the Valley of the Sun. Always enjoying a trip to the gym followed by a good plate of tacos.