UPDATE: Test results indicate common, harmless plant-based mold found; “excellent” air quality on board streetcar
On the afternoon of Thursday, August 2, a Transdev vehicle technician performing a routine 30-day inspection discovered what appeared to be mildew or mold in the air intake chamber of the HVAC unit of streetcar vehicle 1178. Following consultation with SORTA it was determined: 1) to inspect all of the in-service trains; and 2) there was and is no risk to the traveling public due to the filters. Vehicle 1176 had what appeared to be traces of a similar substance upon inspection. Both trains have had the HVAC units cleaned in consultation with CAF and Transdev will conduct more frequent special HVAC inspections.
Transdev retained a third-party mold expert who determined that the substance was a common and largely harmless plant-based mold called Cladosporium. Results of an air quality test, conducted out of an abundance of caution, found that the air quality in the streetcar’s operator cabin, passenger compartment and maintenance facility was “excellent.” This expert also confirmed that the filters are designed to stop any airborne mold spores, and confirmed that the filters removed from the HVAC units contained no mold traces.
CAF staff have indicated that the Houston Metrorail CAF vehicles have a similar HVAC unit and they have had mold issues in the past.
SORTA and Transdev continue to work to determine the root cause of this issue and will perform inspections and maintenance according to CAF documentation. We will be working with CAF to confirm that Transdev is conducting these activities correctly, if any changes are required to the CAF inspection and maintenance instructions or if any of the various CAF field modifications to the HVAC may be a contributing factor.
About The Cincinnati Bell Connector
The Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar is intended to expand transportation options and enhance livability by connecting downtown, the riverfront and Over-the-Rhine. It is owned and funded by the City of Cincinnati, managed by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, and operated by Transdev.