Port Authority rail service returning Monday

Matthew Santoni
| Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Light-rail service to half of Downtown and the North Shore will be running for Monday morning's commute, the Port Authority of Allegheny County said late Sunday.

Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said crews were wrapping up repairs and running test trains Sunday evening between the Wood Street Station, Downtown, and the Allegheny Station on the North Shore, after Friday night's derailment between Wood Street and Gateway stations.

“If everything goes well, we could be up and running later tonight, or they could be waiting until the start of service tomorrow morning ... unless something really caught us off guard,” Ritchie said Sunday night.

“Everybody planning that trip (to the Steelers game) shouldn't worry about that.”

Ritchie said the Authority thanks customers for being patient and apologizes for any inconvenience the light rail closure might have caused.

Ritchie said investigators know what caused the derailment shortly after 9 p.m. Friday, but he could not discuss it publicly until conversations with state officials later in the week.

Train service on Sunday ended at the Steel Plaza station, with free shuttle buses running along the streets to the Wood Street, Gateway, North Shore and Allegheny stations.

Signs at the shuttered stations and Port Authority personnel at some locations pointed riders to the temporary bus stops for the shuttles Sunday. Most riders were making do, but some were confused or inconvenienced.

At the Wood Street station, the signs were located at opposite entrances, with the sign at the Sixth Avenue entrance directing riders to the shuttles going northbound and boarding alongside the Granite Building, while the sign at the Wood Street entrance directed riders across the street to southbound shuttles boarding in front of the K&L Gates building. But the signs weren't specific as to which direction the buses would be running.

Richard Roth, trying to catch a train so he could hunt for housing in South Park, didn't realize he was waiting at the wrong place.

“I'm coming from Erie and have no directions. ... I don't want to end up standing on the North Side,” said Roth, 20.

At Steel Plaza, trains lined up on each side of the middle platform, waiting to turn back southbound toward First Avenue and Station Square.

Scott Romani, 23, was trying to get from his home Downtown to the Dance Conservatory of Pittsburgh in Castle Shannon. After trying unsuccessfully to find a train at the Gateway Center station, he said he was running late while waiting for a train to depart Steel Plaza.

But Kevin Carrozza, 43, and Leann Dunmire, 44, of Monessen were making the most of the shuttle service, having caught the bus at the Rivers Casino to Downtown, where they ate lunch in Market Square, visited Macy's and were waiting for another shuttle back to the North Shore.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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