On Tuesday, December 15th, the Transportation Safety Board released a letter outlining the preliminary findings of their independent investigation into the cracks observed on some of wheels on our light rail fleet.
As previously communicated to the Transit Commission, since the wheel cracks were discovered in early July, the city has followed all safety protocols, procedures and immediately notified the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). RTG immediately implemented a daily inspection routine where all train wheels are inspected prior to going into service. RTG has also implemented a wheel replacement program where all impacted wheels are removed and replaced. To date, 13 of 38 have had all impacted wheels replaced. Vehicles that have had their wheels replaced now go through the regular maintenance inspection cycle. Daily inspections continue on the remaining vehicles in our fleet.
The TSB suggests expediting the wheel replacement program. RTG has been securing extra tools and resources in order to complete wheel replacements at an additional site to speed up the process. The TSB also indicated that there is a cable that may obstruct the view while inspecting the wheels. The City and RTG agree that moving the cable will enhance the inspection process and will not impact the operation of the vehicle in any way.
When the wheel cracks were first detected in July, RTG also immediately initiated an investigation. RTG’s investigation confirmed that the primary factor leading to the wheel cracks was due to an improperly aligned “jacking screw”. This “jacking” screw, which is used during routine maintenance programs to assist in the wheel removal, if improperly aligned can create undue stress on the wheel and can result in a wheel crack. All newly replaced wheels do not have jacking screws.
RTG and the City will continue to inspect vehicle train wheels until such time as all impacted wheels are replaced and misaligned jacking screws are removed. We also continue to work with and support the TSB in their on-going investigation.