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Light rail service resumes in stretch damaged in July

Light rail trains resumed running Monday between Oriole Park at Camden Yards and North Avenue in Baltimore. A section of the Convention Center light rail stop collapsed July 8 after a water main broke under Howard Street.

Trains resumed traveling the two-mile stretch of track that serves six stations through downtown Baltimore on Monday morning, according to the Maryland Transit Administration. Light rail service now runs uninterrupted from Hunt Valley to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

“I am gratified that we can announce the full restoration of our downtown Light RailLink service,” Kevin Quinn, administrator for the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration, said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience of our riders as (the) Baltimore City (Department of Public Works) worked to complete the necessary repairs.”

During the shutdown, the MTA used buses to provide links to North Avenue and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The state has placed “transit ambassadors” at the light rail stations to help commuters navigate the system now that service has been restored.

A spokesman for the city did not immediately respond to questions about the cost of repairs or whether work on Howard Street is complete.

On July 8, water gushing from a broken 12-inch water main swamped CSX’s Howard Street tunnel and caused flooding that reached M&T Bank Stadium. The deluge caused a light rail boarding platform to crumble and injured a city worker in a nearby electrical conduit.

The collapse resulted in massive traffic backups, as work to repair the damage caused the closure of Pratt Street between Paca and Sharp streets. Traffic was also blocked from entering downtown on Howard Street from northbound Interstate 395. In addition, traffic was barred from entering Interstate 395 from southbound Howard Street.

The resulting chaos highlighted the city’s struggle with aging infrastructure and the limitations of its transit network, as well as problems with traffic snarls downtown. The disruption also coincided with a concert by pop artist Billy Joel at Camden Yards, the first show ever held at the baseball stadium.

“The aging infrastructure, as you know, is something we’ve been dealing with for years, and we don’t know when there will be water main breaks and it looks like they’re breaking everywhere,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said in the days after the collapse.


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