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CATS must repair its entire Blue Line fleet after a 2022 derailment

Trains on the CATS Blue Line are now limited to a top speed of 35 mph after city officials learned two weeks ago that a mechanical defect caused a Blue Line train to derail in May 2022.

That defect, which involved a faulty bearing in a wheel assembly, must now be fixed in the entires CATS fleet – all 42 train cars, Brent Cagle, the transit system’s interim CEO, said during Monday’s City Council meeting.

Prior to the meeting, the defect and derailment had not been publicly disclosed.

The previous top speed for Blue Line trains was 55 mph.

Cagle said CATS is monitoring the bearings on all CATS trains to mitigate potential problems.

Cagle said he first learned of the derailment two weeks ago, when the North Carolina Department of Transportation asked for a written document that laid out a “corrective action plan.” Cagle was named interim CEO on Dec. 1, 2022, following the resignation of John Lewis, the CATS’ previous CEO.

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