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Houston transit agency to replace faulty axle counters

The malfunctioning axle counters caused crossing gates to lower when no trains were present, leading to delays on local roads.
Photo – METRO

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) in Texas tonight will temporarily close portions of the Red, Green and Purple light-rail lines to replace malfunctioning axle counters that have caused train delays.

Service interruptions will begin tonight, with regular service on the Red Line resuming Nov. 7. Service will be restored on the Green and Purple lines Nov. 12, agency officials said in a press release.

The repairs follow months of study and workarounds on malfunctioning hardware that  triggered false reports of a train occupying a portion of the track when no train was present, according to METRO. This has slowed rail service and created unnecessary delays for car drivers at crossings.

The issue began surfacing in 2014.

Houston Rapid Transit (HRT), the contractor that built the Green and Purple lines, will replace the current Siemens axle counters with ones manufactured by Austrian-based Frauscher. HRT is a joint venture led by Parsons.

"We are relieved and hopeful that the situation will be resolved in the next several months," said METRO President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Lambert. "This has been very frustrating for METRO operations, safety folks and, most importantly, for drivers and riders who are not happy with delays in train traffic and malfunctioning gates.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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