PORTLAND, Ore. – TriMet riders experienced another problem on MAX trains crossing the Steel Bridge Tuesday, after Monday’s big shutdown. The problems are the latest in ongoing issues with Max on the old bridge.
Trains were delayed up to 15 minutes because of a switch malfunction just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The problem was fixed and service started returning to normal an hour later, according to TriMet.
Monday’s shutdown ran from 11:30am through the afternoon commute and big Trailblazers and Winterhawks games in the Rose Quarter, with some limited resumption of service at times. Shuttle buses moved people back and forth across the Willamette River instead.
TriMet leases the right of way for MAX trains from Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the bridge.
KGW wanted to ask questions of TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane or operations managers about the Steel Bridge, but the agency’s media relations staff told us they were not available. Instead a spokesperson talked with us about the bridge.
“You have to acknowledge though the Steel Bridge is your Achilles heel, whether it is switches or power outages, everybody has to go by (the bridge) and it’s a problem,” suggested KGW News Reporter Tim Gordon.
“Well, it’s a part of the system,” said TriMet Spokewoman Mary Fetsch. “When you think about the Steel Bridge, it’s a historic bridge, it’s over 100 years old. And when you think about the MAX going over it some part of that are over 30 years old."
Trimet spent $53 million on maintenance and improvements system-wide last year and is doing the same this year. It has also hired seven additional maintenance workers.
“We know it’s frustrating for riders when there are these service disruptions and we really appreciate their patience. But what we’re doing about it is spending more on the maintenance,” said Fetsch.