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BART opens new train designs to public viewing

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ALICIA TROST | COURTESY

Replica of a preliminary design for a new BART train.

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JULY 24, 2013

This week, BART is showcasing a scale wooden replica of a preliminary design for new train cars that it plans to begin rolling out in 2017.

Passengers at Oakland’s MacArthur station are able to look inside at “the fleet of the future” and give design feedback. The public display, open from 2 to 7 p.m. until Friday, also includes a prototype of new digital displays that will alert passengers of approaching stops and train delays.

BART has been planning to redesign its 41-year-old trains since 2009, when it first requested remodeling proposals from several train car suppliers. BART currently uses the same train model it used when it first started in 1972.

“The fact of the matter is that we have the oldest railcars in the country right now,” said Jim Allison, deputy chief communications officer for BART. “It’s becoming harder to keep them running and harder to find the parts to fix them when necessary.”

Among the new changes are an additional door per car — from two to three — about 10 percent more standing room, interior bike racks, additional handrails and remodeled seats made of vinyl.

BART also hopes that the new cars will help it keep up with increasing passenger traffic, which is expected to increase from about 400,000 a day to about 500,000 a day in 2018. Traffic is expected to continue increasing partially due to planned service expansions in Silicon Valley.

But funding for the new cars is still tentative. Allison said that BART has an ultimate goal of buying 1,000 new train cars, replacing the 669 now in use and adding more, but funding has only been secured for 410 cars.

Some funds may come from fare increases that will take effect in January, but a settlement with BART labor unions over employee wages, currently being negotiated, could reduce funds for the new trains.

Reactions to the new design, developed by Bombardier Transportation, have been mostly positive.

“The engineering must reflect what the people want and how they’ll use it,” said Bob Lockhart, a retired BART employee who stopped by the exhibit. Lockhart said he noticed improved levels of brightness, space and general passenger accommodation.

Several BART employees were also stationed on-site to receive feedback from visitors.

“I think it’s great they’re letting us see all of this,” said Bethany Dean, a frequent BART passenger from Oakland who was also at the exhibit. “We can tell them our honest opinions about the changes, and it seems like they’re taking it all into consideration.”

This week, BART is showcasing a scale wooden replica of a preliminary design for new train cars that it plans to begin rolling out in 2017.

Passengers at Oakland’s MacArthur station are able to look inside at “the fleet of the future” and give design feedback. The public display, open from 2 to 7 p.m. until Friday, also includes a prototype of new digital displays that will alert passengers of approaching stops and train delays.

BART has been planning to redesign its 41-year-old trains since 2009, when it first requested remodeling proposals from several train car suppliers. BART currently uses the same train model it used when it first started in 1972.

“The fact of the matter is that we have the oldest railcars in the country right now,” said Jim Allison, deputy chief communications officer for BART. “It’s becoming harder to keep them running and harder to find the parts to fix them when necessary.”

Among the new changes are an additional door per car — from two to three — about 10 percent more standing room, interior bike racks, additional handrails and remodeled seats made of vinyl.

BART also hopes that the new cars will help it keep up with increasing passenger traffic, which is expected to increase from about 400,000 a day to about 500,000 a day in 2018. Traffic is expected to continue increasing partially due to planned service expansions in Silicon Valley.

But funding for the new cars is still tentative. Allison said that BART has an ultimate goal of buying 1,000 new train cars, replacing the 669 now in use and adding more, but funding has only been secured for 410 cars.

Some funds may come from fare increases that will take effect in January, but a settlement with BART labor unions over employee wages, currently being negotiated, could reduce funds for the new trains.

Reactions to the new design, developed by Bombardier Transportation, have been mostly positive.

“The engineering must reflect what the people want and how they’ll use it,” said Bob Lockhart, a retired BART employee who stopped by the exhibit. Lockhart said he noticed improved levels of brightness, space and general passenger accommodation.

Several BART employees were also stationed on-site to receive feedback from visitors.

“I think it’s great they’re letting us see all of this,” said Bethany Dean, a frequent BART passenger from Oakland who was also at the exhibit. “We can tell them our honest opinions about the changes, and it seems like they’re taking it all into consideration.”

The design phase will ultimately conclude in 2015 after another public display is held for Bombardier’s final model. If everything stays on track, all BART trains will be replaced with the new models by 2023.

Contact Andrew Dickey at [email protected]
LAST UPDATED

JULY 24, 2013


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