With the arrival of its first new train car, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) is now set to begin a crucial onsite testing phase. The first train car was unveiled Wednesday at BART’s testing facility in Hayward, Calif. marking the beginning of the arrival of a new fleet of 775 train cars over the next five years.
“This next testing phase is critical to having safe and reliable new train cars,” said Board President Tom Radulovich. “As these new cars arrive and get approved for passenger service, we can finally start running longer trains. That’s something every line on our system needs right now. In fact, the need is so great we’ve been able to get the manufacturer to increase the monthly delivery rate from 10 cars per month to 16 per month, putting the final car delivery 21 months earlier than the original schedule.”
The first car will now undergo mandated testing on a test track where dynamic qualification testing of 29 separate performance measures will occur. The first dynamic performance tests are for propulsion and brakes. Then other important features such as wheel-to-axle resistance, noise, and electromagnetic compatibility testing must be verified. These tests are performed under a variety of weight patterns to reflect an empty-car weight, seated-passenger weight, and other variables including very crowded conditions.
The next testing phase will then occur on BART’s mainline system during the overnight hours when BART isn’t open for passenger service. This includes 16 qualification tests that need to be completed before the California Public Utilities Commission can certify the trains to carry passengers. BART is working towards a target date of December 2016 for passenger service if testing goes well and no major re-engineering is required.
Train car details
“The car is chock full of modern amenities based on feedback from our riders,” said BART GM Grace Crunican. “Whether your ride is an hour or 10 minutes, we’ve worked to include features that will help make everyone’s ride easier and more comfortable.”
The very first car, train car 3001, was delivered in March on a flatbed truck after a 3,600-mile road trip from Plattsburgh, N.Y., where the cars are being assembled by Bombardier Transportation, which was awarded the $2.5 billion contract in 2012.
775 new train cars are on order, but the agency's goal is to find the funding to bring that number up to 1,081 — increasing the number of seats in the fleet by 49%.
To date, over 35,000 people have helped BART and Bombardier make design decisions through their input.
New benefits include:
- Quieter: "micro-plug" doors will help seal out noise
- Cooler: cooling systems will distribute air directly to the ceilings, making it more comfortable for standees on hot days
- Comfortable: padded seats with lumbar support will be covered with wipeable fabric for easy cleaning
- Easy to use: routes will be color-coded like the BART system map, and next-stop information will be readily available via automated announcements and digital screens.
- More space and options: aisles are wider, seats are higher for space to fit luggage underneath, the ceiling is higher for tall folks, there are dedicated bike racks in each car, more reserved seating for seniors and people with disabilities, more handholds for standees of all heights, and a third door makes it easier to board and off-board the train.
2016- First test cars arrive for safety and reliability testing
2017 - 2021 Subject to successful completion of safety and reliability tests:
by end of 2016: 10 new train cars in service
by end of 2017: at least 60 new cars in service
by end of 2018: at least 230 new cars in service
by end of 2019: at least 420 new cars in service
by end of 2020: at least 610 new cars in service
2021 Balance of cars delivered to reach total of 775 new cars in service.