UPDATE: BART: Disabled Train Begins Moving Toward Rockridge Station

December 4, 2013 9:49 am · 8 comments

A BART train that had become disabled between the Rockridge and Orinda stations this morning after experiencing a brake problem is moving again and will head to the Rockridge station, a BART spokesman said.

“A technician on board the train has been able to get it moving under its own power,” BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

“It’s being moved toward the Rockridge station, where passengers will be presumably evacuated and moved to other trains,” Allison said.

Two “rescue trains” that had been dispatched to assist passengers who were stuck on the disabled train have been canceled because they are no longer necessary, Allison said.

BART spokeswoman Luna Salaver said that at about 8:15 a.m., a San Francisco International Airport-bound train on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line suffered a parking brake failure.

The incident created “brake dust” and caused some smoking, and the train became disabled, blocking the tracks, she said. She compared the smoke to that created when a driver slams on the brakes of a car.

“There was absolutely no fire on the train,” Salaver said. As of 9:05 a.m., the passengers remained stranded on the stopped train.

The platform of the Rockridge station has been cleared out in anticipation of the disabled train eventually coming in, but Salaver said the station was not closed.

Crowds of commuters stood outside the station waiting to take BART to work.

An employee at the Cactus Taqueria on College Avenue across the street from the Rockridge station said the station’s entrances are blocked by paramedics and firefighters.

She said there are groups of people waiting on the sidewalk. A person on the disabled train tweeted at 8:32 a.m. that there was some smoke in the train car.

Shortly after 9 a.m., that person tweeted, “Train operator calling for a doctor now… We are chatting in our car otherwise in good spirits.”

About 10 minutes later, the same user posted, “We are waiting to be evacuated off Bart to rescue train. Getting instructions from train operator.”

Salaver said there are major delays of up to 30 minutes in both directions on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line.

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1 ale December 4, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I picked a good day to be sick. I normally take one train later than this one.

2 Bill December 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Where’s all the folks blaming the overpaid operators and station agents?? Perhaps safely evacuating a train with 600 passengers is worth more than $20 per hour?? LOL!!

3 Mr. Pink December 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM

I was on the train and we were there for close to an hour before the train finally moved on to Rockridge. There was talk of bringing in a rescue train and we were going to have to off-board in the tunnel. I was actually looking forward to that, alas.

The conductor kept her head and seemed to handle the situation OK. The one gripe from fellow passengers is that we could smell the smoke (which was obviously from the brakes) but it was quite some time before she told us anything about what was going on. Several people were calling on the intercom and finally people started calling BART police instead.

A long morning but could have been worse.

4 jtkatec December 4, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Overpaid employees vs. maintained trains.

5 K December 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Keeping the passengers safe is the reason BART employees have to go through lots of training. You can’t just walk in off the street & deal with the myriad of issues that arise & keep the passengers safe. It’s not nearly as easy as they make it look.

6 Triple Canopy December 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Here come the lawsuits….

7 Sandy Eggo December 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

I too was on the train and was looking forward to the tunnel evacuation. Most of the people were in good spirits and the operator seemed to be doing her best to resolve the situation. I agree with Mr. P though, that we were stopped with that awful smell for quite some time before any announcements were made.

Allegedly 75 people were treated upon reaching Rockridge. I find that ridiculous. However, it was merely the smell of burning brakes. Every time the operator came through our car, people would begin coughing. Then once she was out of our car, they’d go back to talking, laughing, etc. So many people trying to get something for nothing.

8 Mr. Pink December 5, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Agree Sandy. I’m sure there will be a flood of lawsuits against BART now, though my understanding is that you can’t sue a public entitiy.

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