SDOT advises travelers that the First Hill Streetcar (FHS) will resume full operations at the start of the morning commute at 5 a.m. on Monday, March 20.
Prior to returning to service, the entire fleet of vehicles had a modification installed, tested, and documented individually. The modifications and operating orders have been reviewed and approved by the required safety officials. With these modifications, operating orders, and safety approvals in place, the vehicles are safe and operational for return to service.
To date, SDOT has been working diligently to resolve the issue and has developed an electrical modification to ensure power to the track brake in the event of a loss of power. In addition, SDOT and King County Metro (KCM) will implement an operating speed limit of 7 M.P.H. and two safety stops on the section of track where the issue occurred and steep gradient exists.
All streetcars from the FHS line and one car from the South Lake Union (SLU) Streetcar line were taken out of service after one of the FHS cars, 405 (Gold), had an electromechanical malfunction that caused it to lose power on Wednesday, March 1. Out of an abundance of caution, the rest of the FHS line streetcars and Car 407 from the SLU line (same model as FHS cars) were pulled from service.
The malfunction was traced to a “Load Contactor” (similar to a circuit breaker) that tripped into open position. The Load Contactor connects the low voltage battery that runs power to the streetcar operations systems (separate from propulsion system battery).
SDOT and King County Metro would like to thank the public and our riders for their patience.