St. Louis Metro Transit teams and contractors are working around the clock to continue to assess damage and make repairs to restore train service to the MetroLink light rail system west of the Central West End Station following the record rainfall and flash flooding event on July 26. Preliminary damage estimates range between $18 and $20 million. Metro Transit is requesting emergency federal and state funding to help cover the losses caused by the unprecedented weather event.
MetroLink equipment between the Forest Park-DeBaliviere and Delmar Loop Stations sustained the most significant flood damage with one MetroLink train valued at $10 million expected to be a total loss, as well as station elevators, MetroLink communications and fiber optics, the MetroLink signal system, and damage to the light rail track beds. A Metro Call-A-Ride vehicle trapped in the flash flooding on July 26 is also expected to be declared a total loss.
Fortunately, there were no injuries to any transit customers, operators, contractors, or transit team members during the flash flooding. Deer Creek, which is next to the Brentwood MetroBus Facility, flooded and water surrounded the building, preventing MetroBus from deploying transit vehicles from that facility. Vehicles from other MetroBus facilities were used for service on Tuesday. When the floodwaters receded, MetroBus vehicles were relocated to the DeBaliviere MetroBus facility where they are now being used for daily service deployment. The electric bus fleet was removed from service to protect those transit assets and the battery electric vehicles were later moved to the Central MetroBus facility after the floodwaters receded outside the Brentwood MetroBus facility. Flash flooding at several MetroLink stations and water on the tracks hampered or prevented trains temporarily from operating at different sections of the MetroLink alignment in both Missouri and Illinois on July 26.
“We have never seen flash flooding to these extreme levels on the 46-mile MetroLink system since it opened in 1993,” said Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development president and CEO. Bi-State Development operates the Metro Transit public transportation system in Missouri in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County and in St. Clair County in Illinois.
Roach added that riders should remain patient with the agency and its employees during the unprecedented clean up, repair, and delays, especially since many were victims of the floods themselves.