Train takes out power line

From the West Sacramento News-Ledger — AUG 15, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Power went out for around an hour to over 2,000 PG&E customers in West Sacramento on Thursday.

The cause? Train versus power line.

  According to West Sacramento police records, a citizen reported the outage at about 3 p.m. after a train hit a “low hanging” power line on the 2700-block of Rice Avenue, causing sparks and leaving the line “frayed.”

Brandi Ehlers, a spokesperson for PG&E, said she did know how the train came to hit the power line.

“I haven’t heard yet whether the lines were low-hung or whether a piece of equipment fell down and was hit, or whether the train was higher than usual,” Ehlers told the News-Ledger.

“We initially lost power to 2,739 customers. It looks like they were all restored by 4:21 p.m. We did have to replace the cable.”

The utility company received reports of power outages from the “state street” area near Park Boulevard (Pennsylvania Avenue, Virginia Avenue, etc.) as well as from Rice Avenue and Evergreen Avenue.

ONLINE UPDATE, AUG 15 2012: After this News-Ledger went to press, PG&E spokeswoman called back with further information on why the train hit the power line. She said:

“The main guy wire anchor had rusted through. This caused the pole to lean more, causing the wire to sag down. It was also hot out, and there was a heavy electrical use on the line, due to the hot weather [i.e., customers were using their air conditioners heavily]. This made it even hotter. Our power lines tend to sag lower when they’re hot. We have built-in clearance for that, but with the pole leaning, it wasn’t enough.”

The cable and other faulty equipment has been replaced, added Ehlers.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

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