CA: Here's your last chance to ride BART's historic 'legacy' trains

April 11, 2024
On April 20, the rail agency's historic legacy trains will make one final run before retiring from BART's active fleet for good.

Apr. 9—BART debuted its regional rail service almost 52 years ago with eight futuristic-looking, three-car trains that carried passengers from Oakland to Fremont. On April 20, a Saturday, the rail agency's historic legacy trains will make one final run before retiring from BART's active fleet for good.

The legacy trains have been a sight synonymous with the Bay Area for more than five decades. Their sleek design inspired awe in riders when BART service began in September 1972, and the trains carry sentimental value for some riders because they've zipped across the Bay Area during the region's most exciting and turbulent events.

It was the silver, sloped-front legacy trains that BART used to run 24-hour service following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, serving as a vital transportation connection between San Francisco and the East Bay after the quake damaged the Bay Bridge.

BART's biggest ridership spikes — during Super Bowl 50 festivities in 2016 and Giants' World Series parades in downtown San Francisco — came during the era of the legacy trains.

That historic run is coming to an end.

The trains began to show their age when BART reached its highest ridership point, in the mid-2010s, as riders routinely packed inside the trains during weekday rush-hour commutes. Their easy-to-pull-out seat covers were prone to vandalism.

In January 2018, BART introduced the first Fleet of the Future train cars that now make up the entirety of the agency's active fleet.

The sleeker train cars are meant to last BART several decades. Last September, BART fully transitioned to the newer train cars after agency officials decided to run shorter trains to help improve riders' safety on BART.

BART still used legacy trains sporadically in the months that followed to fill runs. But officials at the agency say they no longer need to depend on the older cars because they now have more than 700 of the newer train cars certified for service.

The "final run of the first fleet," as BART bills it, will begin at 1 p.m. on April 20, at MacArthur Station, where legacy trains will carry passengers to Fremont Station — the 24-mile section of tracks that made up the inaugural BART system.

The agency says there will be food vendors and a BART merch store at MacArthur Station. It will cost a one-way fare of $5.30 to participate in the legacy trains' final run.

After April 20, the legacy trains will retire for good. Most of the train cars will be recycled, according to BART, though some have found a second life and been repurposed as bars, arcades and housing.

Reach Ricardo Cano: [email protected]; Twitter: @ByRicardoCano


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