UPDATE: Electrical Short Caused BART Major Incident on Wednesday Morning

December 4, 2013 18:30 pm · 12 comments


An electrical shortage that caused the emergency brakes to activate on a BART train traveling at 70mph is the reason for the major delays on Wednesday morning near Orinda, a spokeswoman for the transit agency said.

BART spokesman Alicia Trost said shorts are “quite rare” for BART and have only happened three times this year.

Jim Allison, another spokesperson for BART, said the 10-car train, which was traveling from Pittsburg/Bay Point to San Francisco International Airport and was carrying 600 to 700 passengers, gradually stopped on its own when the brakes activated at about 8:20 a.m.

The brakes are friction brakes that have pads and the activation of the brakes created brake dust that got into the impacted train car from its intake system, Allison said.

The train was stuck in the tunnel for about an hour but finally arrived at the next station, the Rockridge station in Oakland, at 9:34 a.m.

Oakland fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said medical crews treated 11 passengers at the station, nine of whom were taken to local hospitals with breathing problems and other issues. She said there didn’t appear to be any major injuries and there wasn’t a fire or any smoke.

Drayton said medical personnel came to the Rockridge station at 8:45 a.m. and had the situation under control by 10:30 a.m.

BART’s Orinda and Rockridge stations were closed while the train was stuck in the tunnel and BART service was impacted for several hours, as some trains were operating at reduced speeds for a time.

Allison said BART resumed full speeds on both of its tracks at 11:25 a.m. but there were still residual delays until noon.

Allison said the materials on the brake pads that were affected in the problem today are “organic,” meaning that they are carbon-based and don’t contain any toxic materials that might have harmed passengers.

He said the train that was stuck in the Berkeley tunnel was taken out of service at the Rockridge station and was then moved to the nearby MacArthur station in Oakland.

Allison said the train will be taken to one of BART’s maintenance yards when BART service shuts down for a few hours overnight.

© 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

photo credit: Andrea Rios


1 Jerk December 4, 2013 at 6:34 PM

That’s Right Folks, Now will you please hand over your MONEY MONEY MONEY because the BART that YOU paid for is mis-managed, has TOO many overpaid Chiefs and the Indians are getting their cut too.
Pay Up SUCKAS!!!!

2 Craig December 4, 2013 at 7:25 PM

When will the problems at BART end? As a daily commuter on BART, I’m sick of this. Driving to SF would suck, but I don’t know which is worse.

3 sick of bart December 4, 2013 at 7:29 PM

I rest my case on passenger safety! I feel like I can’t depend on BART any more. I’ve been caught in so many horrendous delays, I’m surprised I still have a job. I’m also sick and tired of having to change my hours because BART runs short crowded trains that are too crowded between 11 and midnight.

4 Elwood December 4, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Is it true that Alicia Trost and Jay Carney are an item?

5 Juli December 4, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Does three times in one year really qualify as “quite rare”?

6 Lari December 4, 2013 at 10:22 PM

I would have normally been on that train, but my car is in the shop, so I was dropped off a bit later. At 8:50, they were reporting ‘delays’ due to a non-operating train, but they still had us board. We got as far as Pleasant Hill and sat there a while until they finally announced there would be no service towards SF. They took us back, so I was able to get off and get a ride back home. Glad I was not stuck in the tunnel for an hour…or heading to SFO. I had just been talking to my friend in NY about the Metro North fatalities, too (that used to be my line) and I was saying how BART is pretty safe considering. Hmmm.

7 Peanut Gallery December 4, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Battalion Chief Melinda????
Just doesn’t sound right.

8 I'm The Urban Spaceman December 4, 2013 at 11:27 PM

>>BART spokesman Alicia Trost said shorts are “quite rare” for BART and have only happened three times this year.<<

I've always observed BART employees wearing pants.

9 Anon December 5, 2013 at 4:37 AM

Another example of BART employees getting back at the public for their lake of support. Quite rare indeed.

10 BAAQMD December 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Where is BAAQMD? These break downs and delays only increase particulate levels as people abandon public transportation and get in their cars. This will cause breathing problems for some.

BAAQMD what are you doing to help? I know, your probably working hard on the next advertisement about the health issues of someone using a fireplace.

11 Elwood December 5, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Woo hoo!

BART has now gone 24 hours without a major ****up!

12 Trevbo December 6, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Only BART would think sitting in a dark tunnel on a broken down train with zero information for over an hour would be under control. The cars were filling with smoke, or dust I guess, if anyone knew the difference. People didn’t know if the train was on fire or what. They finally advised people experiencing problems to move to the back of the train. Then told them to move to the front. On a fully crowded morning commute train no less. This is so rare it “only” happened 3 times this year.

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