Metaphor alert: Minnesota light rail train runs off tracks after Obama lauds it in visit
posted at 7:21 pm on February 28, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
Every light rail project runs off the tracks, metaphorically, going outrageously over budget, lurching past deadlines, flattening people’s dreams, sometimes even abandoned even by Democrats and media as they continue to disappoint.
Now, a literal derailing as a metaphor for these metaphorical derailings. A meta-metaphor, if you wil:
A Minneapolis light rail test train derailed shortly after President Obama lauded the expansion of the system, the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn., reports.
Obama touted the expansion of Minnesota’s Metro light rail system to St. Paul, which is scheduled to open in June, as an example for the nation to follow. Hours later, a train ran off the tracks.
“I just had a chance to take a look at some of those spiffy new trains,” Obama said Wednesday of the expansion of Minneapolis’ Metro light rail.
“They are nice and they’re energy efficient. They’re going to be reliable. You can get from one downtown to the other in a little over 30 minutes instead of when it’s snowing being in traffic for two hours.”
Obama said other cities should follow Minneapolis and St. Paul’s lead in expanding public transit access.
Two hours later:
A Central Corridor light-rail test train rolled off the tracks on Cedar Street in downtown St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon…
The minor derailment occurred as the northbound train, which was not carrying passengers, attempted a turn at Twelfth Street just before rush hour. It was leaving downtown headed toward Minneapolis about 4 p.m.
Crews working on the derailment hooked up another train to pull the derailed car back onto the tracks. The train was back on the tracks just after 6 p.m., according to a Metro Transit spokesman.
A Metro Transit official at the scene said this was the first time that stretch of track had been used since 10 inches of snow hit the Twin Cities last Thursday. It appeared the train hit an area of snow and ice just before a curve in the tracks at 12th Street.
And what may be to blame for this mishap?
“Wheels on the lead car came off the tracks because of snow that had accumulated in the rail right of way,” Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr confirmed in a written statement Wednesday evening, adding that there was no apparent damage to the tracks.
Kerr said crews inspect tracks “on a regular basis to make sure snow is removed and there’s no impediments to operation.”
But it remained unclear Wednesday whether such an inspection had been done at the derailment site in the wake of the biggest snowfall of the season.
Ya don’t say.