Wham-Bam-Tram Shatters World's Worst Record!
67 Crashes on a 7.5 mile Light Rail System in a Calendar Year
January 8, 2005

It's first calendar year is now over and the Wham-Bam-Tram has set a record for carnage and destruction, by a light rail train, that is likely to never be broken. The ill-fated little tram's preliminary crash total for the year stands at a whopping 67 crashes (72 since the beginning of operation), shattering the previous per mile crash record, though those numbers are likely to rise, once we receive year-end, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested documents from Metro that will likely include information on previously unreported crashes.

To put this crash record into perspective, shattering the previous worst record, as they did (by 1076%), would be equivalent to a team shattering the Super Bowl point spread record of 45 points, set by San Francisco against Denver, in 1990, by winning this year's Super Bowl by a whopping 484 points. It's incomprehensible that any such point spread could ever occur. But before it happened, it was just as incomprehensible that the Wham-Bam-Tram could have had 67 crashes in a calendar year, in only 7.5 miles. That's the magnitude of the failure of that deplorable crash machine.

Actually, Action America predicts, with considerable confidence, a higher final crash total for the hapless tram, since each prior report that we have obtained from Metro, has revealed multiple crashes that were never reported by any media source in Houston. In fact, because we don't rely on just the local media for out facts, Action America has presented the most consistently accurate crash total for the woebegone little trolley, since it went into service. Unlike the Chronicle and other media sources, who seem to just report an arbitrary total that is almost always lower than actuality, our totals are supported by links to news articles or Metro data concerning each crash (on our main Houston page). However, we must commend two television stations for getting the numbers right, on occasion.

On October 7, 2004, KPRC-TV (2) correctly reported the crash total, since the beginning of operation, at 67 (62 for the year). That was the first time in months that that any media source reported the correct crash total, though we must mention that even that number might have to be adjusted, once we receive the year-end Metro data. Interestingly, two crashes later (number 69), KPRC reported the crash total to be three crashes less (64) than just 15 days earlier. What can we say? Then, on January 8, 2005, KTRK-TV (13), in reporting the first Wham-Bam-tram crash of 2005, accurately reported that there were 67 crashes in 2004. We hope that they will keep on accurately reporting the number of crashes. In general though, all local media sources have been very erratic in accurately reporting the number of crashes.

Even the many reasoned folks who predicted significant problems for the "Little Train That Couldn't", long before it was put into service, are now shocked at just how poorly the Wham-Bam-Tram has performed. When detractors of the ill-fated little tram made dire predictions that it would break the previous light rail crash record by as much as 50%, Metro and the City of Houston dismissed those predictions, as absurd and claimed that the crash total would not be anywhere close to those predictions. Well, it turns out that Metro and the City of Houston were right. The final (preliminary) crash total is nowhere close to those earlier predictions, though not in the direction that Metro and the city had intended. In the end, instead of breaking the previous worst crash record for a calendar year by 50%, as predicted by skeptics of the ill-fated tram, the woeful little trolley achieved a disgraceful crash record that was more than 1000% worse than the previous worst light rail crash record. Even if they could manage to maintain the crash rate of just the last four crashes (ending 1/7/05), it would still lead to a more than 300% worse crash rate than the previous worst record and more than 400% worse than the national average. Then consider that, if the truth be known, even Metro officials probably don't believe that they can maintain such a low average. In fact, the crash rate is already on it's way back up, with the last two crashes being successively closer together than the ones immediately prior.

The Wham-Bam-Tram's proposed new look
(If you don't understand this photo, then you are too young to remember the Wham-Bam-Tram's predecessor, the Edsel.)

It's no wonder that in the last year, articles have appeared in hundreds of newspapers, on CNN and in other major media sources around the world, effectively making fun of the lamentable predicament in which Houstonians now find themselves. Metro and city "leaders" promised us that they would give us a light rail system that would make Houston a "World Class City". Instead, the voracious monster that they gave us, has made Houston a "World Class Laughing Stock", with CNN, AP and others, using terms such as "Streetcar named Disaster", and "Danger Train", in pieces about our failed Wham-Bam-Tram.

Any further waste of money, on this failed system, will only add to the disgrace of Houston having created the worst light rail failure in history and generate even more negative news about Houston. As did those who created another great failure, the Edsel, it's time for Houston to cut our losses, scrap the whole idea and move on.


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