After seven hours of stalled operation, BART began running trains again on both tracks by 9 a.m. Friday, after a crash sparked a major disruption of the service through the Transbay Tube.
BART spokesman Jim Allison said crews are set to begin repairing the tracks at midnight, and he was "confident" that everything would be back to normal Saturday morning. The first trains begin rolling at 6 a.m.
For most of the day, trains were running more slowly than usual at about 25 mph instead of 65 mph.
All the fixes were needed because a freight train machine that does welding crashed into a modified maintenance train about 2:35 a.m., causing BART crews to have to single-track all trains through the tube, which transports commuters from the East Bay to San Francisco. About 380 feet of track and 40 ceramic insulators needed to be fixed closer to the Oakland side of the tube.
Before the sun came up, Allison strongly recommended that people not take BART Friday morning, or work at home because of the major delays they would experience because of the problem. AC Transit and ferries were stepping up service to fill in the gaps.
A total of 22 trains shoot through the tube each hour, Allison said, and all four lines are affected because of the collision, but the biggest route affected was the West Dublin/Pleasanton to Colma route. As of early Friday morning, only eight trains were operating.
For Greg Dodd, an electrician from Richmond, the delays meant he couldn’t make work on time – and being an hour late wasn’t an option. “I didn’t bother, didn’t go to work because I have to be there at seven not nine,” said Dodd. “I had a day off work and missed a day’s wage but hey, I came into the city with my kids and enjoyed the day anyway.”
Dodd said he relies on BART every day. “It was a big, big deal for me. I don’t drive or cross the bridge for the same reasons – the bridge is worse than BART! For years, I leave the car at home, take BART, that’s what I pay the tickets for. But not this morning, they let us down this morning.”
De’Shawn Woolridge of Oakland said he waited at the San Leandro BART station for a San Francisco-bound train, but gave up after 45 minutes and was late to work by more than an hour.
“I had to pay somebody to give me a ride to work because the train was taking too long,” said Woolridge. “They charge you. They could be the best friends ever but they want their gas money.”
BART issued a statement shortly after the crash, and suggested that commuters check out these resources for up to date information:
- Regional travel information: www.511.org or dial 511
- BART website news/advisories: www.bart.gov
- BART mobile website news/advisories: m.bart.gov
- BART email and SMS advisories: www.bart.gov/alerts
- BART SMS on demand: Text 'BART service' to 878787 or see www.bart.gov/sms for more info
- BART Phone Center: 510-465-BART (2278)
- BART Twitter: @SFBART or @SFBARTalert