Seattle-area light rail warns conductors about 'unauthorized individuals' gaining access to control cabs

“Unauthorized individuals have been seen accessing the non-operating cabs of in-service and terminal trains.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Sound Transit in Washington has warned operators about “unauthorized individuals” who have been seen in the control cabs of in-service trains.

According to an Operator Alert obtained by Safe Seattle, “Unauthorized individuals have been seen accessing the non-operating cabs of in-service and terminal trains.”

A Sound Transit employee told the outlet that each light rail car has a cab at each end that can control it in the appropriate direction of travel and is often referred to as a “double-ended” car. Each Link Light Rail train is typically comprised of 3 to 4 cars.
"Non-operating cabs" are the ones the operator is not present in while controlling the lead vehicle.

The alert continued, “If you suspect someone has entered an operating cab contact LCC (Link Control Center) at once.”

According to the transit employee, two keys are required to operate the train: a crew key and a controller key. The crew key can access individual loading doors, all interior panels, and the door to the car's cab door and is a simple design whose locks can be opened with a screwdriver.

“If someone had a mind to, they could gain access to the non-operating cab and induce an emergency stop, disable the train's propulsion system, or jam the radio systemwide.”

Safe Seattle reported that rail operators were issued their own crew and controller keys. However, several years ago, in opposition to Homeland Security concerns, the control keys were wired in the cabs next to the controller. The outlet compared it to leaving your car keys on the dashboard of your car.

The alert instructed operators not to “confront anyone nor block the exit of a person fleeing an operating cab,” and instead “provide LLC with your observations, a description of the person or persons involved and be prepared to follow instructions from rail supervisory personnel.”

The alert also cautioned operators to watch out for people who have hidden in non-operating cabs of returning trains.

Sound Transit said in a statement to The Post Millennial, "There have only been two incidents. The cab doors lock automatically when they closed, so unless they are open, the only way to enter the cab is with a key or reaching through an open window to open the door from the inside. The message was to raise awareness about ensuring that the cabs are secure at all times." 

Fare enforcement on Sound Transit was previously deemed racist and has been lax ever since, allowing homeless drug addicts to ride the rails aimlessly, puffing away on their drug of choice. Often, vagrants can be seen slumped across multiple seats in a car. The problem is most visible early in the morning and late at night.

Overdose victims have previously been found on trains. Trains have also been delayed as cars had to be aired out from fentanyl or meth use.

Fare Ambassadors have also replaced Fare Enforcement Officers, but without turnstiles or other barriers at stations, enforcement remains lax.

Safe Seattle noted that King County Sheriff’s deputies “are no longer engaging or ID'ing restricted area trespassers if they leave the area.”

In advance of the upcoming All-Star Game in Seattle, law enforcement and Fare Ambassadors have been seen more frequently on the trains. However, fares have also been waived to encourage attendees to use mass transit, causing concern that addicts and vagrants will return to the trains in larger groups.
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