TN: Six Hurt When Power Failure Sends Trolleys on Collision Course Downtown

June 3, 2011
Two MATA trolleys collided Wednesday afternoon in Downtown Memphis, sending six people to the hospital.

Two MATA trolleys collided Wednesday afternoon in Downtown Memphis, sending six people to the hospital.

No one was seriously hurt in the collision, according to Memphis Fire Department Battalion Chief Phillip Dix. At least two of the injured could be seen shortly after the accident, as paramedics put them on boards and placed them in ambulances.

The accident happened just after 2:30 p.m. at Main and Auction in the Pinch District. The collision shut down traffic in that area for a while, but it was moving again Wednesday night.

According to Dix, the trolley line lost power, sending the first trolley careening into the second. Both trolleys incurred extensive damage, almost melding together after the collision.

"They lost power, and it just rolled down the hill," Dix said.

Memphis Area Transit Authority officials confirmed the power loss, but didn't know much more Wednesday night.

MATA spokeswoman Alison Burton said a light blue trolley (#539) lost power and stopped, not far from the intersection.

At that point, a red trolley (#194) continued on, rolling into the blue one. One of those injured was a MATA employee on the red trolley, Burton said.

"The red one was further back on the line. That's what we're trying to find out, what happened with that trolley that caused it to hit the stationary one," she said.

MATA officials maintain a fleet of 20 trolleys, with 18 in service at any given time while two others undergo routine maintenance.

Burton was unsure if the collision would affect the trolley service or timetables in the coming weeks.

"We're waiting for the trolley director to look at how he can make some adjustments," she said. "I'm hoping it won't hinder us that much."

- Jody Callahan: (901) 529-6531



Two Memphis Area Transit Authority trolleys collided Downtown this afternoon, sending five people to the hospital.

Lacey Winters, Video Producer


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