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Metro estimates months before return to normal service following flooding

Metro released an update Tuesday on its efforts to restore MetroLink to normal service after recent flooding caused millions in estimated damage.

ST. LOUIS — Metro Transit is estimating it will be several months before it can fully restore service on its red and blue lines in St. Louis and St. Louis County following last month's historic flooding.

Metro released an update Tuesday on its efforts to restore MetroLink to normal service after the flooding caused millions in estimated damage.

"We know you are tired of having to catch bus shuttles so you can transfer between the blue line and the red line," the organization said in an update posted to its website.

Damage to signal houses and communication equipment is causing delays, especially along the blue line, because trains can't travel at normal speeds through the flood-damaged areas.

The majority of damage is along a two-mile stretch of the MetroLink system, from the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station to the Delmar Loop Station. The red line and blue line meet at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station, and the DeBalivere signal house, which is critical in maintaining safe operations at the intersection, is a total loss, Metro said. That means the blue line can't connect with the red line at the station.

"We are devoting a lot of time and attention to clean and assess each piece of those highly sensitive and intricate electrical systems that was underwater to see what can be repaired and what components must be replaced with new equipment," Metro said. "It will be several months before we can fully restore MetroLink service on the red and blue lines in ... St. Louis and in St. Louis County."

Credit: Twitter user @ TonyInStLouis
Forest Park-DeBaliviere Metrolink station was underwater following historic rainfall. This photo is from Twitter user @ TonyInStLouis

RELATED: Metro estimates flooding damage of more than $18M, asks for emergency funds for repairs

Metro released security footage of the flash flooding that occurred on the transit system on July 26. The three-minute video shows water rising over railway platforms and swamping a stranded train.

The total damage includes:

  • One MetroLink train stranded in flood waters at the Delmar Loop Station is a total loss
  • Both station elevators at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station must be replaced
  • MetroLink communications and fiber optics sustained substantial damage
  • MetroLink signal systems housed in two communication rooms and four signal houses all sustained substantial damage
  • DeBaliviere MetroLink signal house is also a total loss after taking on nearly seven feet of water
  • About five miles of light rail track bed was damaged

"In the meantime, our main goal is to make it easier as soon as possible for you to transfer between the Blue Line and Red Line by train again at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station," Metro said. "We are working on a plan that will provide you that option in the coming days so please stay tuned. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented challenge."

Rider Molly Porter says last week she was late to court because a shuttle bus she waited for at the Forest Park-Debalivere station was late.

"This week was better. The first week was terrible after the floods,” Porter said.

Reginald Johnson said his ride at the Forest Park-Debalivere station has been a smooth one.

"There were crowds, but there was no problem. Normally there's a wait for no more than seven minutes,” Johnson said.

"I would tell other riders to get here at least 20 minutes earlier than you normally do."

For the latest information on service, riders can visit the Special MetroLink Operations page. Those with questions or who want help planning their Metro commute can contact Metro Transit Information Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. by calling 314-231-2345 or texting 314-207-9786. 

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