Fleet of the Future expected to begin passenger service in September
BART’s new Fleet of the Future train cars are moving closer with every test to being ready to carry passengers. On July 18th, a new phase of testing began when the new cars started runs on the main tracks without passengers during business hours. The goal is to have the new cars carrying passengers beginning in late September.
The 10 pilot cars had already completed 42 weeks of testing on the main tracks since last November during non-business hours. That was preceded by months of runs along test tracks at our Hayward Maintenance Facility that began after the first pilot car arrived in April 2016.
“We’re doing more testing on site here at BART than other transit agencies would because our tracks are wider than standard,” said Assistant General Manager for Operations Paul Oversier. “Transit agencies with standard width tracks do a lot of testing at the factory before new cars are shipped out. We don’t have that option so we are putting our cars through the paces in the same environment in which they need to perform. In that sense, it’s an advantage.”
The new pilot cars have already undergone more than 50,000 miles of qualification testing. There are 391 tests in all – everything from whether the train stops at the black tiles at the station platform to critical safety tests.
The tests have prompted BART and the manufacturer, Bombardier Transportation, to make more than 3,000 modifications, most of them software related. Each car has 30 microprocessors and 180 distinct software packages. “It’s time consuming, but you have to make sure it’s all right,” said New Revenue Vehicle Group Manager John Garnham.
BART is committed to ensuring that the new cars are safe and reliable before they are put into passenger service and is working to avoid the roll-out issues experienced by a few other transit agencies recently.
Even after BART completes all its testing, the California Public Utilities Commission requires completion of a checklist of 1872 elements.
Nonetheless, BART hopes to have 35 new rail cars on site by the end of this year.
More details can be found in the Fleet of the Future section.