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Valley Metro donates 66 tons of water used for light rail safety test

(Valley Metro Photo)

PHOENIX — While agencies usually use sand to weigh down light rail cars during testing, Valley Metro found a better method: bottles of water.

The transit system and partner contractor Stacy & Witbeck Sundt filled up four cars on the new 1.9-mile Gilbert Road light rail extension with 55 pallets of bottled water, according to a press release.

“We have to test our trains before we open up new lines for service, and we have to simulate those trains being completely full of people,” Scott Smith, CEO of Valley Metro, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

“Well, we can’t get a couple hundred people to go stand on a train for a while, so what we decided to do was to get these 66 tons of bottled water on pallets, put them on the trains and that would simulate the weight.”

Once the testing was complete, Valley Metro donated the more than 115,000 bottles of water to United Food bank to distribute over the summer.

“We get to test safety and give to the community at the same time,” Smith said.

The stretch of light rail on Main Street from Mesa Drive to Gilbert Road will officially open on May 18.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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