The first train car of BART's fleet of the future has finally been built and is expected to arrive in the Bay Area soon to undergo testing, the transit agency said Monday.
The Bombardier Transit Corporation is building 775 train cars for BART at a facility in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the first test car that will arrive soon will be followed by nine others throughout the year so the agency can make its first new 10-car test train.
The train car is 70 feet long, 10 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 65,500 pounds. It was carefully strapped to a flatbed truck last week that has been traveling across snow-covered East Coast roads.
BART officials said the face of the new car has a more modern feel than their current aging cars but still manages to keep the transit agency's iconic look.
BART has funding to pay for 775 new train cars but its goal is to find funding to bring that number up to 1,081 to increase the number of seats in its fleet by 49 percent.
The 775 cars will arrive in the Bay Area in stages from 2016 to 2021, with the 10 test cars arriving in 2016 and an additional 54 cars arriving in 2017.
The target date for putting the first 10 cars into service is this December if testing goes well and no major re-engineering is required.
BART officials originally had hoped to put the first 10 cars into service last year.
BART plans to begin retiring its aging cars when it's appropriate, paying close attention to ridership needs and safety.
BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said in a statement, "There couldn't be a better visual to remind the public that crowding relief is on its way at BART than the very first train car arriving for everyone to see."
Trost said, "BART riders will get the benefit from at least 50 new cars added to service throughout next year, which will go a long way toward tackling our crowding problems."