Sunday, November 27, 2005

Seattle: now with even less monorail!

A sideswipe accident between the two trains on Seattle's monorail Saturday night will likely put the system out of service until next year.

The crash at about 7:10 p.m. sent glass flying to the street. It took nearly an hour to evacuate the 84 passengers on board the two trains. Firefighters escorted them individually down fire-truck ladders extended to the trains about 25 feet above the sidewalk.

There were no serious injuries, but two people were taken to the hospital to be checked out, said Helen Fitzpatrick, spokeswoman for Seattle Fire Department.

The two trains scraped against each another, ripping a door off in the process, on the elevated tracks near Fifth Avenue and Olive Way.
Apparently this was literally an accident waiting to happen for almost 20 years
In that area, the tracks start to converge as they approach the station at Westlake Center, leaving insufficient space for two trains at once...

The original system was built for full service from Seattle Center to a large station just north of Pine Street. But the route was shortened slightly in the late 1980s to end on the upper level of the Westlake Center mall, which was just opening. That redesign led to the tracks converging.

The outer track is close enough to allow automatic ramps to extend from the mall onto the outer train, but it's too close for a pair of trains to be there at the same time.
I didn't know the Green Line wasn't Seattle's first disaterous and shortened monorail line.

update: Seattleite Bob Cottrell took a few cameraphone pictures of the crash


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