Derailment alters Downtown subway service at least into Sunday

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The Port Authority subway service Downtown will be altered at least into Sunday as the authority investigates the underground derailment of a light-rail vehicle Friday night between the Wood Street and Gateway stations.

For now, light-rail service will end at Steel Plaza Station, said Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie, who also cautioned riders to allow extra travel time if using the light-rail system.

The authority will provide bus shuttles between the Steel Plaza and Allegheny stations (serving Steel Plaza, Wood Street, Gateway, North Side and Allegheny).

The derailment occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Nine passengers and the operator were on the vehicle, which was traveling from Gateway toward Wood Street, Mr. Ritchie said. Three passengers reported injuries, with one transported to a local hospital for treatment of a neck or back injury. The two other passengers declined medical treatment. Mr. Ritchie did not have an update on the passenger's condition this morning.

As of noon today, the single subway car remained in the area where it derailed as workers tried to get it into position to move it. Once it is in position, Mr. Ritchie expects it will be slowly moved to the South Hills Village rail center.

Mr. Ritchie said the wheels were noticeably off the track, but the vehicle was not on its side. He said the parts of the car that keep the wheels attached are broken.

"There appears to be some damage that complicates this process," he said.

Mr. Ritchie said there is rail equipment at the scene. "Obviously, it's extremely heavy. It's not the kind of thing you grab a few people and push. It's equipment work...It's a very slow process, and you want to do it to make sure you don't further damage anything and that it's done safely."

He said the car had the rail equivalent of a black box and data is being studied to try to help find a cause.

Before resuming service, he said the authority wants to have a good handle on the cause to make sure the service is safe.

The car was traveling from Gateway to the Wood Street station.

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First Published November 9, 2012 9:45 PM


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