1971 Seattle Monorail Brake Failure - Seattle, Washington
Posted by: Hikenutty
N 47° 37.263 W 122° 20.999
10T E 548842 N 5274387
Quick Description: In 1971 an Alweg Monorail train's brakes failed, resulting in it crashing into the steel girder at the Seattle Center Station. Twenty-six people were injured.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 9/4/2007 5:20:02 PM
Waymark Code: WM24WN
On July 25, 1971, one of Seattle's Monorail trains had a brake failure on its last run of the day. It was returning from the Westlake Station in downtown Seattle to the Seattle Center at 9:54 p.m. About 40-50 people were on board and 26 of them were treated for injuries following the crash. According to witnesses the driver yelled “What the hell’s going on?...HANG ON!”
The train was travelling about 20 mph when it hit the steel girder, which "cut into the front of the coach like an ax, caving in the roof," according to The Seattle Times newspaper. A woman sitting directly opposite the driver was reportedly thrown through the shattered glass of the front car to the station floor. Of the 26 people injured, 13 were hospitalized overnight and 2 sustained serious injuries.
The monorail has been involved in two other major mishaps. In 2004 a fire started on the train while it was carrying 150 people, and in 2005 two trains clipped each other on a curve shearing a door off one train and raining shattered glass onto the passengers. This collision kept the monorail shut down for nearly a year due to repairs and further issues with trains stalling.
The monorail was constructed in 1962 for the Seattle World's Fair to move people from downtown Seattle to the fair site north of the downtown core at the base of Queen Anne Hill.
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