After nearly two decades of (somewhat) faithful service, BART has scrapped an ancient legacy car in order to make way for the 775 new autos the transit system will roll out in the coming years.
As reported by ABC 7, BART has officially decomissioned the first of its 669 legacy cars to allow space for more modern vehicles to join the rapid transit company's fleet in the near future. Car #2528, a somewhat troubled machine named Felicia, was the first to get the ax and taken apart at a nearby recycling plant in East Bay.
Although Felicia had racked-up over two million miles before her demise, not all those distances were without hiccups, hence why it was chosen as the first of the antiquated hoopties to be decommissioned and recycled.
"This was a car that continually came into the shop, was repaired and was sent out again, and it would break down like an hour later," said BART spokesman Jim Allison to the news station.
Also, #2528 was known for more than just being a mechanical pain in the neck. The auto, too, was responsible for striking and killing of two BART employees – Christopher Sheppard and Laurence Daniels – in 2013.
Even though ten cars having been sold to Schnitzer Steel in Oakland – which is where #2528 now resides in pieces – the future for these decades-old vehicles is still somewhat ambiguous. Although roughly 40 percent of the cars are recyclable, there’s still no system in place to gauge the value these old-timey steel tubes carry.
However, any cars that were obtained via the use of federal funds require the government to absorb 70 percent of their resale value.
As for Felicia's fate? Well, given her “deadly” history and lofty repair log, she's deemed to be worth zilch, zero; a goose egg for a price tag. However, as ABC 7’s David Loui discovered, long-forgotten gems still populate these legacy cars. (An eons-old sunflower seed and a penny, circa 1994, were among the uncovered treasures found when the car’s seats were taken out.)
BART’s New Train Car Project is slated to span the course of several years, which now (currently) includes six new trains in transit; that number will bloom to north of 770 when the project’s all said and done. These new cars aren’t only more eco-friendly than the ones they’re replacing, but they’re safer and more accommodating too.
Although, weirdly enough, these newer cars will boast fewer seats than the heritage cars, the fresher vehicles in the fleet having a total of 50 seats per car, a number less than the 54.6 “average” seats installed on those classic autos. Though, these yet sunflower seed-laden cars will, per BART, boast “more [standing room for] passengers.”
(The expansion from 669 to, eventually, 1,200 transit vehicles is expected to make up for the lack of seats the new cars have, as well.)
Alas, it looks like we can expect to see more flatbeds transporting BART’s decommissioned cars toward their final resting grounds in the years to come.