Troubleshooter investigates emergency brakes on Louisville Zoo trains
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Put simply, the
trains Louisville Metro Government sold don't have emergency brakes, something
that if used properly, could prevent a derailment.
If a derailment occurred it could be similar
to the one we saw 2 ½ years ago at the Louisville Zoo when a picture of
childhood happiness turned into a scene of horror. On June 1, 2009 a train at
the Louisville Zoo derailed sending 22 people to the hospital, some with
Attorney Chad Gardner, who represents a
family injured in the 2009 accident, said the green train that derailed had an
emergency brake known as an emergency coach brake valve. Garner claims that
emergency brake could have prevented the accident had the conductor known how
to use it.
Gardner said the conductor didn't know
about the brake because of training on older models that lacked the emergency
break feature. Those older trains are now back in use in other states after
being sold by the Louisville Metro Government.
The WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department
uncovered purchase agreements pertaining to the Louisville Zoo's older model
red and black trains. In August, the Louisville Zoo's older model black train
sold for $73,000, plus tax, to the Gulf Breeze in Florida. The new owners of
the train said the train is already back on the track.
The Louisville Zoo's red train sold for
$62,000, plus tax, to LHAGS, which plans to use it to transport employees at its
industrial park in Ohio.
According to an attorney for the
manufacturer, Chance Rides, that made the train that derailed at the Zoo, both
trains lack an emergency coach brake valve.
Chance Rides attorney told WAVE 3 emergency
coach valves weren't developed until the mid 1990's. Both the red and black
trains were made in the mid 1980's.
When WAVE 3 asked Chance's Director of
Sales if emergency coach brake valves were vital to a train's safety he said, "Absolutely."
According to a bid specification,
Louisville Metro Government is requiring emergency coach brake valves on the
new trains it is buying for the Zoo.
WAVE 3 obtained the bid specification and
found one of the companies that bid was Chance Rides.
A spokesperson for the Louisville Zoo sent
an email to WAVE 3 that said, " The different businesses who purchased the
trains had the opportunity to research and fully inspect them and ask and
The owner of the Gulf Breeze Zoo, now using
one of the Louisville Zoo's old trains, said he was fully aware of the history.
But he said it is a newer model than the one they were using.
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