Bay Area Traffic

BART warns of more possible heat related failures

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Talk about timing -- BART has been debating what to do with some $5 million of budget surplus, ideas like a temporary fare reduction or cleaning the train cars. But after Tuesday's extreme heat, more passengers may say 'upgrade the AC system', so the trains can run properly.

Overheating caused trackside computer equipment that monitors the movement of BART trains to temporarily fail Tuesday afternoon around 4:00. This failure switched the system into a manual safety mode, which means trains that normally travel at speeds up to 70 mph slow to 25 mph. The Bay Area systemwide slowdown caused at least 20-minute delays, right during commute time.

Passengers also suffered through AC failures on about a quarter of the fleet's aging train cars -- problems that BART's extra surplus money could help fix.

BART has some 50 train control rooms, and says about a half dozen of them overheated. One of those rooms where the computer monitoring equipment failed is located in Dublin. Crews helped it cool down by propping open the doors.

No heat-related problems are expected Tuesday morning, but BART says later today the hot weather could cause more systemwide delays and steamy train cars due to AC systems overheating and crashing. So it might be another day where commuters want to carry their own personal-sized fans and some patience too.

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heat wave, BART, bay area traffic, teresa garcia
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