BART reported major delays and a station closure in the East Bay Saturday afternoon, adding to pre-scheduled delays that affected commuters and weekend travelers alike. Christie Smith reports.
The Walnut Creek station was temporarily shut down after a large piece of metal covering the third rail caught fire around 3 p.m., according to BART.
No smoke was visible at the time of the fire, but a strong odor wafted its way into the air, BART said. According to officials, the fire burned a portion of the so-called third rail -- an electrified rail that powers the trains.
"When our crews arrived they found the fiberglass protective covering over the third rail was on fire," said Robert Marshall, a Contra Costa County Fire Marshall.
Piece of Metal Catches Fire, Causing Massive East Bay BART Delays
It's unclear how the fire started. BART officials opted to shut down power to the station while the scene was under investigation.
"We were waiting long enough to where we were able to get back on the BART. The single-track got us directly back in to Walnut Creek," said Eugene Pross, who lives in the Walnut Creek area. There was a little delay...but it is what it is."
The station was reopened shortly before 5 p.m., although police did not speculate or say what could have caused the fire. A single train was being used to move trains in both directions.
The delays add to planned delays in San Francisco, where the Glen Park and Daly City stations were closed for general maintenance and bus-bridges were set up to transport passengers.
"It's a seamless transition from BART to bus and then back onto BART from these stations," said Taylor Huckaby, a BART spokesperson. He said they were organizing free bus bridges to take people between the stations.