Light Rail Goes Offline, Briefly

October 24, 2013

(Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)
A Valley Metro rail vehicle maintenance truck by the light rail stop at Washington and Priest.
(Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)
Eddie Rodriguez on the left and Morgan Lemos across from him on the right discuss light rail delays.

All light rail trains were motionless for about an hour Thursday afternoon during an electrical power failure. The outage affected trains across all 20 miles of tracks.

Passengers were left stranded at Valley Metro light rail stations from Mesa to Phoenix after the disruption hit the system around 1 p.m. Morgan Lemos was waiting at the station near Priest and Washington in Tempe. She said the situation was frustrating because no official announcements were being made after a 30 or 45 minute wait.

“And this is my first time riding the light rail, so this is a really bad impression, okay?” she said. “Bad first impression. Don’t think I’m going to come back.”

Rider Eddie Rodriguez's train was stuck at the Priest and Washington station in Tempe. His message to the light rail was direct. 

“Well I have somewhere to go right now and I’m pretty upset. I wish you guys would hurry up a little," Rodriguez said. 

Spokeswoman Susan Tierney said the outage is far from normal. There have been a few small outages since the light rail started in 2008, but this was the first system-wide failure.

 “Fortunately, this did not occur during a peak hour ridership period, so that is a good thing,” Tierney said.

Trains were running again shortly after 2 p.m. About 45,000 people ride the light rail on a typical weekday. There is still no official explanation for the outage.