Seattle streetcars shut down after one lost power, rolled down hill

Mar 3, 2017, 6:04 PM

seattle streetcar, streetcars...

The First Hill Streetcar just celebrated its first year in service in 2017. (SeattleDOT)


Seattle Department of Transportation is shutting down the city’s streetcars on the First Hill line after one streetcar lost power and rolled downhill for 2 1/2 blocks.

The First Hill streetcar on Wednesday morning had an electromechanical malfunction, which means it lost power. A brake was put into place, but the car continued to roll down the hill at about 20 miles per hour until it stopped near Broadway and Yesler Way.

The remaining cars on the First Hill line were taken out after traffic leaders evaluated the First Hill streetcar incident. No timeline is available on when the out-of-service streetcars may return.

Metro is providing partial shuttle service along the streetcar routing. You can read about shuttle and bus stop connections on Metro’s service advisories page here.

Seattle’s First Hill streetcar celebrated its one-year anniversary in January this year. According to SDOT, the First Hill streetcar is providing rides for 3,050 riders during the weekdays — that adds up to about 78,000 monthly riders.

Beyond the First Hill streetcar

There is currently a line in South Lake Union and a separate line between First Hill and Capitol Hill.

The goal is to connect both lines through the center of downtown, along First Avenue. SDOT crews scoped out the route in late 2016 to determine where utility lines were or any other obstacles. The project is expected to begin sometime in 2018 and will open sometime in 2020.

In the end, Seattle’s streetcar line will run five miles and include 23 stops.

The center connector streetcar line will run down First Avenue. After the streetcar lines are built, drivers will lose a lane in each direction. Drivers will also lose about 200 parking stalls along that stretch.

An SDOT spokesman does not believe that taking streetcars off the street will impact the long-term plan.

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Seattle streetcars shut down after one lost power, rolled down hill