The SPRINTER light rail train in San Diego’s North County fully resumed service on Saturday after more than two months of suspended service.
On Mar. 9, the North County Transit District (NCTD) temporarily suspended the train service due to maintenance issues affecting one of the 24 braking systems on the train.
NCTD officials said the repairs would take an undetermined amount of time to complete, and that service would likely be suspended for two to four months.
In place of the train, the NCTD offered a special temporary express bus service operating every half an hour between Oceanside and Escondido. Buses named the “618 SPRINTER Express” and the “620 SPRINTER Express” provided service for customers seven days a week.
On Saturday, the NCTD began fully operating their regularly scheduled SPRINTER service once again beginning with a train at 4:33 a.m. The current, full SPRINTER schedule can be seen here.
Now that the train is back in action, the NCTD says the supplemental express bus service will stop operating on May 24.
North County resident Ricardo Conseco rode the SPRINTER on Saturday and told NBC 7 he was relieved to see that service has resumed.
Conseco said he usually ride the train on the weekends as a convenient way to get to his job in Oceanside.
“It’s a good thing that the train is back. I always ride my bike to the [Sprinter] stations and then it’s easier for me to get to my job all the way in Oceanside, so it’s a good thing it’s back,” he told NBC 7.
In the meantime, Conseco said he’s been taking the temporary 620 express bus to work, but feels the SPRINTER is much faster and easier for him to use.
During the two-month suspension, the NCTD says the SPRINTER train has undergone extensive safety testing, review and replacement of parts and thorough inspections of the overall vehicle and railroad infrastructure by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
In addition to repairs, routine maintenance work was also performed on the SPRINTER, including engine checks, air conditioning system maintenance, graffiti removal, extensive cleaning, replacement of worn seat fabric, and exterior waxing of the vehicles, according to the NCTD.
‘Blue Crew’ staffers will remain at SPRINTER stations Saturday through Tuesday to provide assistance for passengers using the train again.