Residents of Martinez, Pittsburg, and Antioch will be dealing with bus bridges and interrupted service in the coming weeks as BART begins repairs on the section of track that was damaged in a June heatwave.
Heat-related track warping that caused a partial derailment of a BART train between Concord and Pleasant Hill stations on June 21 has continued to mean to slowed-down trains on that corridor now three months later. (And BART took some heat in July when it came to light that it was running full-speed trains in the area on that June heatwave day, and had no real policy for slowing them down, despite knowing the risks of possible derailment.)
BART fixed the tracks where they warped, but now some damaged concrete ties need to be repleaced, and that is going to entail five total weekends of service disruptions and delays on the Yellow/Antioch Line.
The transit agency says that, "For the safety of the work team," there will be single-track service around Pleasant Hill Station on two Sundays, September 25 and October 2. "Riders in the area should plan to add 15-20 minutes to their trips," BART says.
Then, starting the weekend of October 15, there will be no train service between Concord and Pleasant Hill, with a bus bridge ferrying people between the stations — and those trying to travel to San Francisco or San Jose are being encouraged to start their trips at Walnut Creek or Lafayette Station, to avoid the slowdown. "Both stations have had ample parking on weekends throughout the pandemic," BART says.
"Riders in the area should expect delays of 30 minutes on the bus bridge weekends," they say.
The track closures will also be happening on Halloween weekend, October 29 to 30, and then again November 12 to 13.
In related news, a BART rider shared their pretty horrible horror story today with Bay Area News Group about trying to get from Antioch into SF for the Lady Gaga concert last Thursday amid 110-degree temperatures in that part of the East Bay.
"We got off at the Pittsburg transfer station and noticed a crowd of people waiting to get on. It was about 110 degrees. A fellow passenger commented that the people waiting to board looked like zombies. We soon discovered why."
While waiting as much as 30 minutes for the SF-bound train to come, the couple sweltered, and then, "When we finally boarded the SF-bound train, we realized the air conditioning was not working. We were sweating profusely and would have turned around, if it wouldn’t have meant missing the Lady Gaga concert we were going to." And then the trip took 30 extra minutes because of the mandatory slowdown of trains in the heatwave. Sounds pretty awful!
Photo: Giorgio Trovato