BART rebuilding effort makes most of additional wrench time as trackway replacement begins in southern Alameda County


BART rebuilding effort makes most of additional wrench time as trackway replacement begins in southern Alameda County

Initial work is underway for a large construction project in southern Alameda County. Crews will replace critical track components between the South Hayward and Union City BART stations as well as begin the preliminary work to build a new storage facility at the Hayward Maintenance Complex for hundreds of new Fleet of the Future cars. The work is happening as BART has made the most of reduced service hours over the last year to gain ground on a list of important system improvement projects. Watch a time lapse example of that work from a similar trackway replacement effort in Richmond earlier this year.

The latest project will require a series of weekend track shutdowns between South Hayward and Union City. On those weekends, free buses provided by AC Transit instead of trains will carry passengers directly between the two stations. There will be no train service between South Hayward and Union City on the following weekends: May 15-16, May 29-31 (Memorial Day weekend), June 19-20, September 4-6 (Labor Day weekend), September 18-19, October 2-3, and October 16-17.  On all these weekends free buses will replace trains and riders should plan to add 20-25 minutes to their trips. The work will also require BART to reduce service to a single track in the area on select Saturdays and Sundays, which will cause delays of 15-20 minutes. Additional track shutdown weekends are expected in 2022 but specific dates have not yet been determined.

This southern Alameda County work comes as BART has focused on advancing infrastructure rebuilding projects across the system during a time of low ridership and reduced service hours. The work is made possible thanks to Measure RR, which was approved by BART District voters in 2016 and provides $3.5 billion to rebuild the backbone of the system.

Much of the rebuilding and track maintenance at BART happens during a time referred to as “the blanket” when trains are not operating. Before the pandemic the blanket for most of the system lasted roughly from 1:00 am - 4:30 am. With the revised service hours, the length of the blanket has nearly doubled which has offered a tremendous opportunity to advance infrastructure projects. Here are some of the RR projects that have been accelerated during the pandemic:

• Downtown San Francisco 34.5KV electrical cable replacement project (these cables power trains)

• Oakland Wye/West Oakland 34.5KV electrical cable replacement project

• Rail Profiling for New Wheel Profile – multiple lines (reduces the BART screech)

• Third Rail Replacement Program

• Coverboard Enhancement (coverboards protect the electrified third rail)

• Install Safety Barriers

• Running Rail Replacement – Systemwide

• Rail Direct Fixation Pad Replacement – Systemwide (improves track stability which bolsters overall reliability)

• Union City Station Modernization

• El Cerrito del Norte Station Modernization

Wrapping up work ahead of schedule is a huge benefit for riders.  Not only does it offer them a more reliable system, but it reduces future construction delays.

Earlier this year BART successfully completed a major track rebuild near the Richmond Station. Crews worked for several months including around-the-clock on five non-consecutive weekends from January through March to replace an interlocking near Richmond Station. An interlocking is a key section of track that allows trains to move safely from line to line. The team also installed approximately 4,000 feet of new rail and replaced approximately 1,000 tons of rock ballast that is used to stabilize the line. You can watch a time lapse video from one of the work weekends here.

Below is a map of the bus bridge service plan for the upcoming track shutdown weekends.

bus bridge map