OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Sprinter light-rail trains resumed shuttling passengers between Oceanside and Escondido Saturday morning, ending a more than two-month service suspension brought on by accelerated wear in their braking systems.
The North County Transit District took the diesel-powered trains out of service on March 9, because the central axle rotors were wearing out too quickly. The time-out enabled the NCTD, railcar maker Siemens and contract operator Veolia Transportation to install new split-disc rotors on center axles.
After repairs and a thorough review of railcar safety equipment, testing was supervised by the Federal Railroad Administration and the California Public Utilities Commission. The Sprinter, its tracks and signals passed all tests, according to the NCTD.
The NCTD, Veolia and subcontractor Bombardier also performed routine maintenance work including engine checks, air conditioning system maintenance, cleaning, replacement of work seat fabric and graffiti removal, NCTD officials said.
The NCTD on Friday entered into an agreement with its contractor to implement new procedures for communicating critical information and identifying risks in operating and maintaining the Sprinter trains, transportation officials said.
"This agreement is a demonstration of NCTD's commitment to providing the highest-quality, safest transportation options to the community," county Supervisor and NCTD board Chair Bill Horn said. "The teamwork between the agency and our private partners during the service interruption allowed us to get our passengers back on board the Sprinter well ahead of initial projections."
Buses bridged gaps in service while the trains were out of commission. The supplementary bus service will end May 24, the NCTD said.
As part of the effort by NCTD and its contractors to restore service as quickly as possible, Veolia and Bombardier agreed to contribute to the direct costs related to the service interruption and its resumption, transportation officials said.
Sprinter trains started rolling at 4:33 a.m. Saturday, according to the NCTD. The full schedule is available online at GoNCTD.com.