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Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) General Manager Neil McFarlane has launched an outside review of the agency's light-rail maintenance system, the agency announced yesterday.McFarlane called for the review, which will include MAX vehicles and track, as part of an effort to "better address both an aging and an expanding rail system," according to a press release. The review follows McFarlane's actions in November to reorganize the operations division and create a new maintenance division to place more attention on vehicle and rail system reliability.Leading the outside review will be LTK Engineering, a national firm with light-rail expertise that helped build the MAX system. The firm will assess the state of repair of all vehicles and track, perform spot checks of selected equipment, and review maintenance records and service reliability data.A full report on the firm's findings is expected in six months, TriMet officials said."We need a better understanding of what is necessary to reach a more consistent, better level of service," said McFarlane. "I believe our customers will soon begin to notice our progress."Meanwhile, TriMet's board yesterday voted to transfer two vintage trolley cars to the St. Louis Loop Trolley Transportation Development District. In August, Loop Trolley representatives expressed an interest in using the trolley cars for the streetcar Loop Trolley project. Currently, the trolleys are operated about eight Sundays a year. In St. Louis, they will be used daily, TriMet officials said.The trolley transfer will benefit TriMet as well, including the ability to repurpose the trolley barn maintenance facility into a MAX maintenance facility, they said.Loop Trolley will fund the trolleys' transportation costs to St. Louis. Once they're up and running, Loop Trolley will pay $80,000 to TriMet to retire the remaining local interest share.
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