When railcars can’t run anymore: The dangers of the railcar
By Matthew FuttermanA new railcar can’t be safely driven unless it’s been repaired and the brakes are worked on, according to a safety-related safety audit released Monday by Phoenix’s City of Phoenix.
The audit, obtained by The Arizona Republic, found the Phoenix-area’s largest railcars were among the worst performers nationwide for maintenance and operation.
In addition to failing to provide adequate maintenance, Phoenix’s railcars are at high risk of catching fire when they don’t have proper brakes, which can be deadly.
The railcars and equipment Phoenix runs have failed the inspection.
Phoenix City Councilman Matt Futtermans audit finds the railcars in Phoenix’s fleet are among the “worst performing” in the nation.
The report, which was conducted by a team of Phoenix officials, is the latest evidence that Phoenix has an urgent need for better railcar maintenance.
Futtermen is the first elected official to review the city’s fleet of railcars, and he said the audit is not a criticism of the city.
“I have no problem with the safety of the cars,” Futter said.
Futterman and the other auditors said the Phoenix railcars have been operating for years without adequate brakes, including failing a brake check four times.
When a railcar fails, it’s typically the result of either an electrical problem or an unexpected electrical problem.
Futtermen said the inspections were done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has not publicly inspected the Phoenix fleet since 2009.
The NHTSA has conducted safety audits on railcars across the country, but its work is not public, so Futtermens report does not include any public comments.
Futurman said the report shows that Phoenix should not be running the Phoenix Railcars at any risk.
“[The audit] shows we should be looking at improving the rail car fleet, the maintenance and the quality of the training,” Futurmans said.
The new railcars will be replaced by a new model that will have more sensors, which are designed to detect problems and detect if the train has been in a collision or is at risk of a collision.
The inspections will take place over the next several years, with the results expected to be released by March 2021.