Local

Streetcar’s Gold Line is back on regular schedule Sunday

rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Area Transit System plans additional testing of streetcar brakes after one of the new CityLYNX trolley cars struck a vehicle over the weekend.

The Gold Line went back to a regular schedule Sunday, a day after one of the trains rear-ended an SUV in a wreck that sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries. CATS temporarily halted transit on the line.

The damaged trolley car – which wrecked after just three round-trip runs – is out of service for now. But the Gold Line’s two remaining trolleys moved between the line’s six stops until 7 p.m. Sunday and are scheduled to run from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday.

Trolley car operators will test the braking system at each end of the line, said Ashley Abbott, a spokeswoman for Charlotte Area Transit System. A supervisor also will be on board the trolley cars.

The $37 million Gold Line made its debut less than a week ago, becoming Charlotte’s first streetcar line in 77 years. Trolleys are scheduled to run about every 15 to 20 minutes between Brevard Street uptown and Hawthorne Street in Elizabeth.

The out-of-commission trolley should not slow down the schedule. CATS only runs two trolley cars at a time, Abbott said

An investigation is continuing to determine what caused the collision.

The trolley car involved in the incident had been inspected, Abbott said.

“They have daily safety testing before the cars go into service,” she said. “The vehicle did pass the daily safety tests.”

Abbott could not say whether additional tests or precautions might be taken during daily inspections as a result of the wreck.

The trolley involved in the collision was able to travel on its own to a maintenance facility following the incident, which happened around 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Elizabeth Avenue near North Kings Drive.

Two people were taken to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.

Charlotte resident Michelle Orr, who was on the streetcar during the accident with her 2-year-old and 4-year-old children, told the Observer the accident happened after the trolley reached the end of its route.

She said the trolley seemed to have shut off and coasted down the hill on Elizabeth Avenue.

After striking the SUV, the streetcar traveled for about another 200 feet, stopping near the Interstate 277 overpass, Orr said.

Prior to the start of service, CATS warned that the streetcars can’t stop quickly. The cars take almost 100 feet to stop at 16 mph, CATS has said.

Karen Sullivan: 704-358-5532, @Sullivan_kms

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