'Extensive' damage after streetcars collide at Over-the-Rhine maintenance yard

'Extensive' damage after streetcars collide at Over-the-Rhine maintenance yard
Posted at 2:20 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 17:53:49-04

CINCINNATI -- A streetcar collided head-on into another streetcar at the city's maintenance facility on Race Street late Sunday.

No one was injured, a city memo says, but damage to the vehicles is considered to be "extensive."

One of the vehicles was pulling into the facility at the end of the night and hit a parked, unmanned streetcar at about 11:12 p.m., according to Paul Grether, rail services manager for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

Both vehicles are out of service. Transdev, a contractor hired to operate the city's streetcar system, is coming up with a timeline for repairs. Brandy Jones, SORTA's external affairs manager, said via email Transdev will have to cover the costs.

The system has five streetcar vehicles. Sunday night's crash will have a short-term impact on service, according to City Manager Harry Black.

"Additional parts will be required to repair both vehicles, which may leave the streetcar operator without spares," Black wrote in a memo Monday.

The operator and supervisor also are out pending an investigation. Grether said both were given drug and alcohol tests. SORTA spokeswoman Sallie Hilvers said the results of the drug and alcohol tests aren't yet back.

The city of Cincinnati owns the streetcar system, while SORTA handles operations. SORTA contracted out operations work to Transdev, a private firm.

RELATED: What safety training do streetcar operators get?

Streetcars have been involved in several collisions over the past year. Jones said via email there had been 13 "reportable" incidents -- meaning there was an insurance claim -- since the system opened to the public last fall. Most of those collisions have been minor.

According to data from the Federal Transit Administration -- the government agency established in the 1960s to provide assistance to transit systems of all types across the country -- only 16 major collisions involving streetcars were reported nationwide in 2015.