Red Line reopens after ‘wire fatigue’ repairs

May 13, 2019

All of Metro’s Red Line light rail is open, after workers over the weekend completed electrical work that still has the Green and Purple Lines shut down.

The part of the Red Line north of University of Houston -Downtown opened Sunday afternoon, officials with Metropolitan Transit Authority said, with reinforcement of the electrical system completed. Last week, officials said all of the work along the three lines likely would take about a week, meaning a few more days of bus shuttles along the other two lines.

Metro shut down the rail lines on Wednesday, after deciding that “wire fatigue” along most of the rail system presented a public health risk. Should a wire snap, it would fall to the ground where it could electrocute someone, officials said.

As a temporary fix, crews are adding support cables before and after a key point along the electrical system where the fatigue is happening, at 79 different spots along the 22-mile system. All of the fatigue is occurring along the portions of the line opened since 2013, which differs slightly in design from the original Red Line from downtown to Fannin South.

Officials do not know the cause of the drooping lines, but are working with the rail lines’ builder to find the cause and correct it. Metro CEO Tom Lambert last week said that if the cause is related to the installation or a defect in the design, Metro would seek damages.