Memphis — Second Streetcar Burns
For the second time in six months, a Memphis Area Transit Authority [MATA] streetcar caught fire, apparently destroying an ex-Melbourne "W" class tram, The Commercial Appeal reports.
The car caught fire on Madison near Danny Thomas during the morning rush hour on April 7, 2014. At least four people were aboard the car but none was injured. On November 4, 2013 another car caught fire about a block from the site of this blaze.
In this second incident, a passenger reported a loud ppopping noise then flames erupted. Another passenger said they had to force the doors open to escape the fire. The trolley that burned is a 1927 model from Melbourne, Australia.
MATA suspended service indefinitely on the Madison line after the second fire, pending an investigation into the cause of the fires. Some locally suspect that the hilly landscape and higher operating speeds of the Madison line might have been a contributing factor, although identical cars have climbed hills in Melbourne and operated at speed since the 1920s. National experts are to be brought in to help with the investigation. The Downtown and Riverfront trolley lines in Memphis will continue in operation while the investigation is underway.