This morning around 10:30 a.m., Trolley #452 on the Madison Line caught on fire near the Bellevue intersection. Nine people and the driver were on board at the time the trolley caught on fire. Passengers reported hearing "a loud pop" near the trolley driver's area, and the trolley immediately began filling with smoke, according to MATA spokesperson Allison Burton.
All passengers were able to safely exit the trolley. Seven people were transported to hospitals after suffering from smoke inhalation, but none are in critical condition. There's no word yet on what caused the fire.
The Madison rail line has been temporarily suspended, and MATA will be provided bus service along that route instead. Trolley #452 was built in 1927 and was purchased from New Orleans Regional Transit Authority in 1997. It had been refurbished in 2004.
In other news, MATA president and general manager Will Hudson has announced that he'll be retiring in January after serving in that role for 20 years. Hudson got his start at MATA as a bus driver 49 years ago. Hudson is the first African-American president of MATA. Under his leadership, MATA reconstructed Central Station downtown and constructed the trolley's Riverfront Loop and Madison Line, among other projects.