Rectifier rescue: Measure RR bond funds at work


Rectifier rescue: Measure RR bond funds at work

Ever lose your phone charger? It’s disheartening to watch your smartphone’s battery percentage slowly creeping toward zero with no way to recharge it. You may not know exactly how the charger works, but you know you gotta have it!

BART trains are in a similar predicament. They need 1,000 volts DC to power their motors. An electrical device called a rectifier helps them get it. Like a phone charger, our rectifiers convert the alternating current provided by the electric company to the direct current that our trains use.  

So perhaps you can understand how the technicians in our Traction Power Department felt when they realized that a rectifier at Orinda Station was in imminent danger of failing. They discovered the potential problem during routine maintenance of aging equipment and then sprang into action.

Working non-stop over an April weekend, they squeezed into a cramped electrical room and swapped out dozens of components to ensure an uninterrupted flow of electricity from massive 34,500 volts AC cables to the electric third rail in our tracks.  Our trains, and our customers, never skipped a beat.

Renovation of our critical electrical equipment, including rectifiers, is paid for by Measure RR, the bond measure that’s providing the money we need to rebuild.  

So, a big thank you to Bay Area voters who gave us a vote of confidence and to dedicated traction power techs who think about electricity 24/7 so you don’t have to.

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