Those of us feeling dramatically less productive due to the current heat wave have a spirit animal in BART, it appears, as the transit agency has announced that the weather has caused them to slow service down even more this weekend.
BART announced this afternoon that as of Friday "As a precaution against potential rail movement, BART will be reducing speeds between noon and 8 p.m. on most outdoor parts of the system for the duration of this regional heat wave."
That slowdown should extend your trip by 10-20 minutes, they say, but that's not the only thing slowing you down this weekend, the Merc reports, if your trip includes the East Bay. Scheduled track work in downtown Oakland is expected to cause 20- to 40-minute delays, with only a bus bridge to get riders between the 19th Street and Fruitvale stations or the West Oakland and Fruitvale stations. Add both up, and riders can anticipate "between 10- and 60-minute delays...across the system, depending on where they are going," the Merc reports.
While the Oakland closures had been widely announced in recent weeks, word of the the heat-related slowdown didn't trickle out until a tweet from BART at 12:59 Friday afternoon.
Due to extreme heat speeds reduced systemwide thru Sun as precaution against rail movement. Add 10-20 mins to trips. https://t.co/C4BVEGl06w— SFBART (@SFBART) September 1, 2017
Reactions, as they say, have been mixed.
It is ridiculously hot in the car. No AC. I'm starting to feel sick.— G. Rayner (@grayner) September 1, 2017
On Bart rn can confirm trains are slow— Tone (@ToneSTOOPS) September 1, 2017
According to BART, they're slowing things down because their rails might not be able to withstand the weather. I'll let them explain:
BART rail is heat-treated prior to installation, which allows for thermal expansion and contraction of the rail in the Bay Area’s widely varying temperatures.
However, when actual temperature variations reach extreme levels, the thermal forces exerted on the rail increase, making it possible—though unlikely—that there could be some rail movement. Train speeds are being reduced in targeted parts of the system as a precautionary measure to give Train Operators more time to react to any observed abnormal rail conditions.
BART says they expect the slowdown to continue "through at least Sunday, though the final decision on the duration of these changes will be based on weather forecasts and observed track conditions on the BART system." I think I speak for us all in saying thank god the president has determined that global warming is a myth...
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
...so we can rest easy that soon, the weather will be back to "normal" and so will BART's rails.