MARTA faces $6.3 million in emergency repairs after electrical fires at two stations last month.

Cost of MARTA station fires: $6.3 million

Damage caused by recent fires at two MARTA stations will cost the agency $6.3 million.

CEO Jeffrey Parker has ordered the emergency repairs to the Peachtree Center and Lakewood stations – the site of two electrical fires last month. 

The agency does not expect additional repair costs, spokeswoman Stephany Fisher said. But MARTA will pay hundreds of millions of dollars to replace the electrical systems that power its trains and stations in coming years.

The fires at both stations were caused by aging electrical equipment. On July 22 a fire in an electrical cable vault sent smoke billowing into the Peachtree Center station, forcing an evacuation. The fire was extinguished, and normal service resumed the following morning.

A second electrical fire shut down service at the Lakewood station July 24. Service was restored later that evening.

MARTA has redundant electrical systems, so rail service continues at those stations.

The back-to-back fires underscored the reality that MARTA’s 40-year-old rail system is still using its original electrical equipment. The agency plans to replace the systems powering its trains and stations beginning next year.

But the fires prompted MARTA to bring in electrical experts to assess its systems and prioritize repairs. Earlier this month agency officials said the assessment would cost about $2 million.

Now the full price tag is becoming evident.

Last week Parker approved an emergency procurement of $4.7 million for repairs at Peachtree Center. The work, which includes testing and replacing a variety of equipment, is expected to take four months.

Parker also approved $1.6 million in repairs at the Lakewood station. The work is expected to take eight months.

The costs include the initial $2 million for assessing the damage.

Fisher said two firms have received contracts for some assessment work – WSP USA ($316,000) and HNTB ($255,000). But most of the work will be done by MARTA. Fisher said the costs include equipment, additional staffing and overtime.

X