BART opens Contra Costa Crossover
A new set of crossover tracks is now in use on the busy Pittsburg/Bay Point line, bringing capacity relief to riders and greater ability to get around delays.
The two new sections of track crossovers are located in between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill stations and will allow trains to cross over at high speed to the opposite track to reroute service around a disabled train, trackside problem, or maintenance crew. BART has other crossover tracks systemwide, but this line had a five mile gap with no track crossover, causing delays to quickly escalate when incidents occur.
“The Central Contra Costa Crossover Project is the biggest track project in over a decade and I am thrilled to see it open and in service,” said BART Director Gail Murray who represents riders in the area. “It was the first time BART cut into the middle of its original tracks and inserted new track crossovers, and the systems to make it work. Perhaps the best benefit is that it increases capacity on our most used line without requiring additional rail cars which BART presently does not have. Passengers will soon see longer trains on this line because we can operate more efficiently.”
The crossover nearest to the Walnut Creek Station opened earlier this year and BART has already seen great improvements to delay mitigation from its use. Trains have been able to move around planned maintenance occurring on the weekend, turning what was a 40 minute delay into a 5 minute delay.
Capacity Improvements During Peak Commute
The other crossover, nearest to the Pleasant Hill Station, opened April 1, 2015 and it will soon allow BART to run more efficient train service during peak commute times.
Here is how it will work: A near empty train coming from San Francisco in the morning in the reverse commute direction will arrive at Pleasant Hill and be routed onto the opposite platform. Instead of continuing to Concord, the train will be “turned back” and pick up commute direction riders. The train will essentially be empty, providing seats for riders that are used to boarding trains with no seat availability left. The train will then head to Walnut Creek, continuing to make all the regular stops until Montgomery Street and will then turn back to make another loop. During the evening commute select trains will run Pleasant Hill-24th Street Mission loops.
This peak period rush service will begin in mid-September 2015 when BART has its next schedule change.
More 10 Car Trains
These new Pleasant Hill to Montgomery St./24th Street Mission turn back runs, made possible with the new crossover tracks, will also let us have longer trains serving the Pittsburg/Bay Point-SFO route all day. Here’s how:
9 trains make 13 peak direction trips to San Francisco during the morning commute and 11 peak direction trips during the evening commute.
Starting in Sept with the new crossover:
8 trains can make 15 peak direction trips during the morning commute and 13 during the evening.
Turning trains back at Pleasant Hill Station, instead of Concord or Pittsburg/Bay Point allows for quicker loops back to San Francisco and BART can make more trips with fewer trains.
What happens to the extra train we “save” by making quicker loops?
We take these 10 cars and we add them to 8 existing train sets that are currently less than 10 cars in length.
How does this benefit me if I ride past Pleasant Hill?
Cars will be added to train sets that serve your station and you will see more 10 car trains throughout the day. More trains between Pleasant Hill and Montgomery/24th Street Mission stations add capacity during peak commute with some reduction in crowding as a result.
Facts about the Central Contra Costa Crossover and the Pittsburg/Bay Point Line
- $43 million project funded with Regional Measure 2 funds ($25 million), federal stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funds ($13 million) and BART capital funds.
- Northern Crossover is located 2,200 feet south from the Pleasant Hill Station and is 500 feet long. The Southern Crossover is located 5,500 feet south from the Pleasant Hill Station and is 200 feet long.
- Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill Stations are the two busiest stations on the line. They each average 6,600 exits per day or a combined 26,000 entries and exits. The Pittsburg/Bay Point line is our busiest line carrying the highest number of weekday commuters.