BART announced on Monday that its long awaited and much hyped fleet of new trains will enter regular service in September. According to the transit agency’s blog:
The goal is to have the new cars carrying passengers beginning in late September. The 10 pilot cars had already completed 42 weeks of testing on the main tracks since last November during non-business hours.
That was preceded by months of runs along test tracks at our Hayward Maintenance Facility that began after the first pilot car arrived in April 2016.
The original 2016 schedule called for some of the new, Bombardier Transportation Company-designed vehicles to carry passengers by the end of that year, but none made the cut in time.
The revised schedule called for 60 new cars by the end of 2017. Now that number is down to just 35 this year.
“It’s time consuming, but you have to make sure it’s all right,” said New Revenue Vehicle Group Manager John Garnham.
BART still hopes to replace all of its present train stock with 774 of the 70-foot long, 65,500 pound, $2 million Bombardier vehicles by 2021 and then add another 300-plus later, although the latter will require additional funding on top of the present $2.6 billion.
The agency’s blog claims that all of the testing has identified 3,000 fixes necessary before putting the new stuff on the tracks, mostly software bugs.
Among the new new features: micro-plug doors to help seal out noise; better cooling systems that “will distribute air directly from the ceilings, making it more comfortable for standees on hot days”; padded seats with lumbar support; wipeable fabric; and next stop information that “will be readily available via automated announcements and digital screens.”