Even BART's New Trains Are Late

BART can't win: Trains the transit agency hasn't even put into service yet are already running late.

To replace the agency's 669 rail cars — some of which are still out of service thanks to the electrical problem on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line, but nearly all of which are past their use-by date — BART is buying 779 rail cars from Canadian rail conglomerate Bombardier, at a total cost of about $2.5 billion. After placing the order in 2012, agency officials told the public last summer to expect a prototype by the fall.

That prototype finally rolled off an East Coast assembly line, onto a flatbed truck, and arrived in the Bay Area in mid-March.

A lengthy delay on the very first car isn't exactly encouraging, but BART officials aren't panicking.

“BART is a unique system that requires special and complex manufacturing, so some early delays with the first test cars is not unheard of or unreasonable,” says BART Director Zakhary Mallet, who represents parts of S.F., Alameda, and Contra Costa counties.

Nine more cars are promised to arrive later this year; the first will see passenger service in December at the earliest. By then, BART might be able to replace the “bus bridge” on that line in Contra Costa.

View Comments