The First Hill streetcar will be back in service Monday morning, after nearly three weeks of modifications and inspections, the result of a power failure that had sent a car skidding for 2 ½ blocks in early March.

Share story

The First Hill streetcar service was set to restart Monday morning, after a nearly three-week hiatus during which the entire fleet of streetcars was modified, tested and reviewed, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) said.

The streetcar had been shut down since March 1, when a momentary loss of power sent one of its cars skidding down Broadway for 2 ½ blocks.

The streetcar was to start running at 5 a.m. Monday, SDOT announced in a news release Sunday evening. It will have a speed limit of 7 mph — only about one-third of its usual speed — and will have two safety stops on the section of track where the skidding incident occurred, SDOT said.

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Alaska Airlines, CenturyLink, Kemper Development Co., Sabey Corp., Seattle Children’s hospital and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

Learn more about Traffic Lab »

The March 1 incident happened at Boren and Broadway aboard the gold-colored streetcar when a circuit breaker tripped near a low-voltage battery. The internal battery power operates lights, gauges and brakes.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

SDOT said the brakes automatically activated, in parking mode, as designed. The steel wheels locked as the train was going 20 mph.

Four other stopping methods were disabled by the electrical glitch.

”The entire fleet of vehicles had a modification installed, tested, and documented individually,” SDOT wrote Sunday. “The modifications and operating orders have been reviewed and approved by the required safety officials. With these modifications, operating orders, and safety approvals in place, the vehicles are safe and operational for return to service.”