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VOL. 132 | NO. 40 | Friday, February 24, 2017

MATA on Track to Begin Trolley Test Runs

By Bill Dries

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You should start to see trolleys on the tracks in a few months, the CEO of the Memphis Area Transit Authority said Thursday, Feb. 23. But getting on one of the trolleys that have been out of service for more than two years will probably have to wait until the end of the year.

MATA trolleys will begin testing the tracks this spring or summer after being offline since 2014.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

“Hopefully by the end of the year,” was how MATA interim CEO Gary Rosenfeld put it Thursday during a tour of the MATA trolley barn to tout the end of a long period of not only rebuilding a few trolleys but building maintenance and operations procedures from the ground up.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done. … A lot of this activity is going to move out into the public sphere,” he said. “People are going to see our technicians out and about, our rail mechanics out and about – start to see some cars and testing service toward the end of the spring time maybe early part of the summer time.”

The trolley system was shut down in June 2014 after two trolley fires and a recommendation from the American Public Transportation Association that MATA overhaul existing trolleys or buy new ones.

After the shut down, MATA president and CEO Ron Garrison discovered there were not maintenance schedules or procedures for the trolleys, some of them renovated in the early 1990s when they were 100 years old.

Since then, the transit authority has built new procedures and schedules as well as a training program and set up a path through a thicket of federal safety regulations.

“That’s what we’ve been working on,” Rosenfeld said. “We’re at that point now where we’ve got the first couple of cars done and now the next few cars should go very quickly. We are just following the plan now. We are not having to write the plan.”

The transit authority also said the two trolley fires – one in 2013 and the other in 2014 – were caused by a surge of 4,000 amps of power through the trolley system that should have tripped several breakers. The breakers, according to MATA’s investigation, either weren’t working or weren’t in place.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 70 70 1,045
MORTGAGES 79 79 1,199
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 228
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 2,425
BANKRUPTCIES 52 52 727
BUSINESS LICENSES 23 23 512
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 293
MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 21 161