After a thankfully uneventful journey across these great United States, the first new BART car has arrived for rigorous testing and inspection. This is the first of the 775 new cars being manufactured in upstate New York that are expected to be delivered over the course of the next five years. According to BART officials, engineers with the transit agency will today begin driving the new car on a test track at a Hayward facility, and they're already kicking the tires and everything else, so to speak.
"As these new cars arrive and get approved for passenger service, we can finally start running longer trains," explained BART Board President Tom Radulovich in a blog post. "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.”
That's some good news, and it means we should be seeing more of these new trains running in 2017, and the entire fleet delivered potentially by 2019.
The Bombardier cars, as they're called, differ from the standard train cars to which we've become accustomed in several key ways. First, they have three minivan-like doors as opposed to the standard two-door cars we're presently saddled with. They also have fewer seats, and built in bike racks.
Loving the first new BART car! 3 doors, electronic screens, bike racks, great ventilation, automated announcements! pic.twitter.com/KK2dJfDYTF— Rebecca Saltzman (@RebeccaForBART) April 6, 2016
The car pictured above arrived in March, but was only unveiled publicly today. The new cars are 70 feet long, 10 feet 6 inches tall, weigh 65,500 pounds, and cost $2 million each. Also, thanks to the new doors, they should be quieter as you ride through the Transbay Tube.
If all goes according to plan, BART officials will have the first new car running passenger service in December of this year. We can hardly wait.