Cars

Testing on new train cars ’95 percent complete’

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Passengers hoping to catch a ride on the first train in BART’s quieter and cleaner new fleet can start scouring stations beginning in September, agency officials said Monday.

The first 10-car train has been on the mainline tracks for testing overnight since November, but engineers started running the train during regular operating hours last week, marking a milestone in the testing process, said John Garnham, the project manager for BART’s new fleet. The agency is in the process of replacing its 669 train cars with 775 new ones, a roughly $2.6 billion effort it hopes will improve passengers’ experience with a quieter ride, increased capacity and more reliable equipment.

The cars are outfitted with a bright and cheery blue and green color scheme, new digital display boards, overhead air conditioning, a third door to ease loading and unloading, plush vinyl seats and onboard bike racks.

“We’re really getting close,” Garnham said.

View of the inside one of BART’s new train cars during a media tour at the South Hayward BART station in Hayward, Calif., on Monday, July 24, 2017. BART is in the process of replacing its 669 train cars with 775 new ones by the end of 2021. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

Once completed, engineers hope to put the first 10-car train into service, likely sometime in September. At the same time, BART plans to start accepting the first “production vehicles,” or train cars that have design changes and modifications identified during testing already incorporated into them. It’ll put those cars through additional testing before they start carrying passengers, which BART hopes will be sometime in October.

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