• Malfunction causes gates to close again along Blue Line Extension

    By: Paul Boyd


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Channel 9 cameras captured another major malfunction Friday morning along the LYNX Blue Line Extension.

    The crossing gates along the light rail dropped down and stayed that way for more than 10 minutes, creating frustration among drivers who were stopped at the crossings.



    The malfunction comes days after all of the crossing gates along the 9.3-mile extension on North Tryon Street closed at the same time. 

    Charlotte Area Transit System officials said the Blue Line Extension “experienced a technical issue that caused one of the train system fail-safes to activate."

    "Nobody could really turn or get to where they were going," witness Keona Preston said.

    The problem first surfaced Wednesday afternoon when all the gates closed along the light rail extension, and despite CATS best efforts, the same thing happening Friday morning.

    Police and transit officials worked to lift the crossing gates but Blue Line Extension remained offline for about 21-hours.

    Whistleblower 9 asked CATS what went wrong.

    “On Feb. 21, 2018, at approximately 3 p.m., during testing, the LYNX Blue Line Extension experienced a technical issue that caused one of the train system fail-safes to activate, resulting in all crossing arm gates along the alignment to engage,” CATS officials said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. The fail-safe system acted as it was designed to, protecting pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic, as well as the rail right-of-way. The root cause of this issue is still being investigated. Pre-revenue testing will continue and there are no changes to the planned Mar. 16 BLE grand opening. Motorists and pedestrians should continue to obey all traffic signs and signals."

    CATS was forced to cancel a media ride-along on Thursday because of the problem.



    Meanwhile, Channel 9 saw contractors ripping up more sidewalks and industrial cable near the Blue Line Extension Thursday.

    No word if this construction work was related to the system shutting down.

    Councilman Greg Phipps has been hearing from frustrated constituents, and was told there were at least three car accidents near the university, including a head-on collision because of the malfunction.

    Phipps is pressing CATS CEO John Lewis for answers.

    "He thought that the problem was solved,” Phipps said. 

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