RTA statement regarding Waterfront Line issue

Sep 23, 2019

At approximately 12:15 a.m. on Monday, Sept 23 after the Browns football game, a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) light rail Waterfront Line train picked up an ADA customer per procedure at the W. 3rd St. station platform. Instead of stopping at the other end of the platform to pick up the remaining passengers, the operator mistakenly drove past the platform. The operator was then instructed by the control center to reverse direction.

While reversing, the train traveled a section of track where there is a gap between the power source and the train. The gap is designed to accommodate taller freight trains which need a higher clearance level when they cross the RTA track there.

A train moving at regular speed would ordinarily coast through that gap and then regain connection with the overhead power. Because the train stopped in that gap, it didn’t have the speed to coast through that section and then reconnect. As a result, the RTA train was unable to make the contact to the power source and lost power.

An attempt was made to troubleshoot the issue by assigning a rescue train, but a power connection could not be made.

Unfortunately, customers experienced a delay on the train for upwards of 45 minutes. With the assistance of Transit Police, customers were escorted back to the W 3rd Street station platform. Passengers were picked up by another train about an hour later.

In reviewing the incident, RTA let its customers down. Our expectation and that of our customers was that they would have the transportation they depended upon to take them from First Energy Stadium to their destination. They waited an unacceptable amount of time in crowded conditions without power to the train.

Despite efforts by staff to communicate to customers waiting on the platform, RTA failed to adequately update onboard passengers. As a result, operators will receive additional training so that they communicate with customers frequently and with real time information. RTA rail operations procedures will be evaluated and adjusted accordingly so that this issue will not be repeated in the future.

RTA sincerely apologizes for its failure in delivering reliable transportation, and in communicating with our customers in a timely, acceptable manner.

Media Contact:

Linda Scardilli Krecic
216-356-3104  (office)
216-390-9605 (cell)