State Fair

Cal Expo monorail is running again after weekend fire, but not at full capacity

Sparks shower down as monorail car appears to stall and catch fire at State Fair

The Sacramento Fire Department responded to reports of a monorail train catching fire Saturday afternoon at Cal Expo, the site of the State Fair.
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The Sacramento Fire Department responded to reports of a monorail train catching fire Saturday afternoon at Cal Expo, the site of the State Fair.

One Cal Expo monorail train returned to service Tuesday after a fire on the monorail track brought the system to a halt over the weekend.

Cal-OSHA has inspected Cal Expo’s three monorail trams after a fire was caused by a part called a collector shoe, which conducts electricity to the rail. The shoe melted due to the amount of electricity flowing into it after a wire had shorted, Cal-OSHA officials said.

The electrical fire broke out in the midst of a maintenance run during the State Fair and no passengers were riding the train aside from the conductor.

Cal-OSHA was reportedly unaware of the Saturday incident until “inspectors saw sparks on the media,” Monterroza said.

Those sparks caused some panic. Video posted to social media showed State Fair guests fleeing the scene as sparks rained down from the track.

Cal Expo spokeswoman Sabrina Washington confirmed around noon Tuesday that one monorail tram was up and running. Spokeswoman Darla Givens said Monday afternoon that Cal Expo’s investigation was finished, and she said Saturday that no one had sustained injuries.

Since the incident, the three trams that service the 50-year-old railway have all been inspected, with both of the trams not involved in the Saturday incident expected to be serviced.

“Our inspectors reviewed one of the other two trains and had the train rewired to keep a similar situation from occurring,” Monterroza said.

The third tram is also expected to receive some form of maintenance.

Cal-OSHA emphasizes that its goal is to ensure safe operations. “We are not going to give a green light until we can confirm that that will occur,” Monterroza said.

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