The First Hill Streetcar remains out of service indefinitely after an electrical mechanical malfunction in one of the vehicles caused a power outage Wednesday morning, the streetcar coasting 2 1/2 blocks.
There were only two passengers onboard with the streetcar operator when the 405 car lost power, and no one was injured, said SDOT spokesman Norm Mah.
“The passengers were offloaded around Sixth and Yesler Way immediately after the car stopped,” he said.
The 405 streetcar was towed to Occidental Station about 15 minutes after it lost power around 6 a.m. Wednesday, March 1. From there, the streetcar was able to travel on its own to SDOT’s Charles Street maintenance facility.
It is currently believed that the malfunction was an isolated incident, Mah said, but the fleet of six First Hill streetcars was taken out of service around 2:25 p.m. Wednesday after the 405 had been inspected.
Mah said the cause of the malfunction was the contactor, which is similar similar to a circuit breaker, and connects a low-volt battery to the operations system. This is separate from the propulsion system, Mah said, which is powered by rooftop battery packs.
The First Hill Streetcar had been slated to start in summer 2015, but was delayed to January 2016. The city charged Czech manufacturer Inekon $1.5 million in penalties for its inability to meet its initial Oct. 7, 2014 completion date, then a revised June 2015 start.
Mah said Inekon has been involved in the process of analyzing and working on the streetcars.
“Of course we’ll continue to work with them to determine the scope and try to sort out and figure out the malfunction,” Mah said.
The 405 will remain offline indefinitely, he said, and the rest of the fleet will be tested inside and outside the maintenance yard.
The 407 streetcar, which services the South Lake Union Streetcar line, was also taken out of service Wednesday.
The SLU Streetcar started in December 2007, but the 407 is also a newer model streetcar, manufactured along with the First Hill fleet, Mah said.
King County Metro spokesperson Scott Gutierrez said shuttle service along the streetcar route was provided 5-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Mah said that service will continue while the streetcar remains offline.