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Extreme Heat May Have Caused Downtown Dallas Transit Delays

An overhead catenary line near the West End station was damaged due to high temperatures on Tuesday, Aug. 1, causing delays on DART’s light rail service in the city’s downtown area.

The high temperatures this summer may have played a role in delays for DART rails in downtown Dallas.

The transit agency sent out alerts about delays on all its rail lines a little after 7 p.m. Tuesday due to an incident near the West End Station. DART spokesman Gordon Shattles said a damaged overhead catenary line near the station was to blame, and it was harmed by the excessive heat.

The damaged line has caused delays throughout the central business district, he said, and shuttle buses and a train shuttle are in place for passengers.

Catenary lines are a system of overhead wires used to supply electricity to the light rail vehicles, which are equipped with a pantograph. The pantograph, attached to the roof of the vehicle, presses against the underside of the lowest overhead wire, the contact wire, according to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Shattles said the overhead catenary lines are across the entire rail alignment.

“The high temperatures can cause the metal in the catenary to expand, allowing the lines to sag,” Shattles said.

He added that as the train passes through, the damaged wire can become entangled with the pantograph attached to the train, causing further issues.

It’s not clear when the damaged catenary line will be fixed. Shattles said that rail operations teams will be in place soon to begin repairs.

He advised Green and Orange Line passengers to take a train shuttle between Victory and Pearl/Arts District stations. For Red and Blue Line passengers, they can take a shuttle between EBJ Union and West End stations as well as West End and Pearl/Arts District stations.

Dallas has recorded 24 days where the high temperature hit 100 degrees or higher — 18 of those were in July. Tuesday’s high was 107 about 3 p.m., tying a previous record high for Aug. 1, set in 2011.

The hottest day of the year was July 18, when the high reached 108 degrees. There’s no sign of triple-digit temperatures ending until at least next Tuesday, according to a KXAS-TV (NBC5) forecast.

©2023 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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