CA: BART Delays After Train Troubles in Transbay Tube

Aug. 27--PLEASANT HILL -- Following Tuesday's nightmarish evening commute on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line, BART trains resumed normal service Wednesday morning for about 5 1/2 hours.

Then came a glitch on the same line, though not as severe as the one Tuesday night that stranded hundreds of commuters.

A malfunctioning brake on a car stopped a train heading from Pittsburg-Bay Point to the San Francisco Airport in the Transbay Tunnel just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, causing a 20-minute delay, BART spokesman Jim Allison said. The issue resolved itself quickly, with the car taken out of service in Daly City. Delays were only 5 minutes systemwide by 10 a.m.

The delay barely created a ripple compared with Tuesday evening's fiasco, when a portion of track and third rail became damaged north of the Pleasant Hill station. BART officials closed the track between the Concord and Walnut Creek stations in both directions around 5:10 p.m., leaving hundreds of commuters looking for other ways to get home.

BART spokesman Alicia Trost said Wednesday morning that investigators had found a flange on the tracks, and that the damage occurred at an interlock in the tracks, where a set of switches that can transfer trains from one track to another.

A flange is a part of the train's wheel that keeps it attached to an axle.

Trost said the damage to the track was "extensive," and that the agency is conducting a "complete, diagnostic investigation."

With the interlock damaged, trains moving east toward Bay Point were forced initially to turn around at the Walnut Creek station, while westbound trains stopped at Concord. By 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, trains were able to single-track through the stations, but the residual effect delayed trains for about 20 minutes until the end of service Tuesday night, Trost said.

Full service on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line resumed at 4:02 a.m. and continued without a hitch until the delay in the tube, the first delay reported on the system's 52 lines Wednesday.

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rderh

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