OKC Streetcar switches to reduced schedule, all-battery power as ice coats wires
Ice accumulating on overhead wires prompted Embark transit to put the Oklahoma City Streetcar on a reduced schedule Thursday.
It was the streetcar system's first winter weather test since going into service Dec. 14.
Streetcars were running about every 30 minutes, down from the usual 12 to 15 minutes, said Embark spokesman Michael Scroggins.
The system returned to a regular schedule as evening fell.
Earlier, trains were running entirely on battery power.
The downtown loop was truncated, omitting the Bricktown section.
The Bricktown loop was activated, with the option to transfer between downtown and Bricktown trains at the Century Center stop.
Screens that post arrival information at the 22 boarding platforms were deactivated due to the modified schedule.
Scroggins said the streetcar was expected to be on the regular schedule of 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on both the downtown and Bricktown loops in the morning.
Scroggins said Embark has a scraper to remove ice from streetcar wires but rain was falling and freezing so fast at mid-morning Thursday that crews could not keep up.
For the first time, streetcars were being switched to the E.K. Gaylord Boulevard track between Sheridan and Reno avenues, in front of the Santa Fe Station transportation hub.
That track and a block-long piece of track on NW 5 Street between N Robinson and N Broadway were included in the design to give the system flexibility in case of accidents, power outages, and events such as Thursday's wintry weather.