A lot goes into a getting a Valley Metro light rail train ready for a busy day. Daily safety inspections are just one step in the process to preparing a train for service. According to Valley Metro guidelines, train operators perform a pre-trip inspection to ensure a light rail train is acceptable for service.
Before heading out, train operators “walk the train,” using a checklist of items that need to be examined before a train departs from the storage yard. In other words, operators check the outside of the train for any debris that could be lodged around the wheels and the carriage. They also check to see that train cars are correctly coupled, or linked together.
Operators then thoroughly check the inside of the train to make sure it’s clean and free of damage and hazards. They examine the interior train lights, noting any issues. Operators also keep an eye out for graffiti inside the train cars. If any is found, maintenance is notified. A final check of the train’s horn and bells is also done before departing.
It takes operators about 20 minutes to perform a pre-trip inspection, said Debby Thacker, Operations Control Manager for Valley Metro. “Operators conduct inspections in the morning before daily pullouts,” Thacker said. “It’s critical that every train is checked. Safety always comes first.”
When the inspection is complete at the rail yard, the train operator contacts the operations control center and requests permission to depart, much like a pilot calls the air traffic control tower for clearance. For Valley Metro, it’s the beginning of another day connecting communities and enhancing lives.