BART: Service could be restored by Sunday morning

BART has revised its timeline for repairs following Friday's derailment -- they say service could be restored Sunday morning.
February 23, 2014 10:14:21 AM PST
BART has revised its timeline for repairs following Friday's train derailment. The transit agency now says service could be fully restored by 8 a.m. Sunday.

SKY7 HD was over the scene Saturday as crews first moved the derailed cars. One section of track was so badly damaged that crews had to use a large crane to lift the car off the track.

The Concord BART Station remains closed because the tracks inoperable. Right now, BART is working feverishly to repair the damage caused by a train derailment, with less than 48-hours before the Monday morning commute.

This is something you just don't see every day -- 60,000 pounds of steel and fiberglass suspended in the air. This is one of four BART passenger cars removed from the scene of Friday afternoon's train

"So it was at a speed of about 27mph in automatic mode when it derailed," said BART spokesperson Jim Allison.

The accident brought BART General Manager Grace Crunican out to see it firsthand. This incident pushes the agency once again back into the spotlight as they look to find out how the train, with only an engineer aboard, came off of its tracks in the first place.

"It rolled out in automatic train operation to the interlocking and that's when it came to a dead stop," Allison said.

But even that, BART admits, doesn't answer the question of why it happened.

The accident folded the cars like pretzels and pushed one dangerously over the edge of a platform.

Video given to us by BART shows mangled steel and parts of the crushed commuter cars that the transit agency says may have been damaged when the train jumped its tracks.

SKY7 HD was overhead as engineers inspected an area that saw similar damage after a train jumped its tracks three years ago.

"It is the same spot as the derailment in March 2011 and certainly that's something we're going to look at," Allison said.

In 2011 a 10 car, San Francisco-bound train came off of the tracks. About 65 passengers were onboard at the time and some were injured. The threat of what could have happened there has left some shaken.

"I have concerns," Concord resident Carlos Steffani said. "This is the second time it has happened and these accidents can be dangerous for the passengers and employees of BART."

The damaged cars will eventually end up at the transit agency's Hayward facility, where teams of engineers are equipped to do the repairs. The two tracks have been cleared and repairs have started.

ABC7 News obtained the emergency call made from the BART train operator to BART dispatch.

Train operator: "BART emergency!"
Dispatcher: "Go ahead please."
Train operator: "Train 331 derail. Concord. Concord two."
Dispatcher: "Train 331, how do you know you derailed?"
Train operator: "I don't know if it's a derail or... I'm almost looking over the edge and it's starting to make weird noises. I'm stuck in this lead car. I need help."

The driver identifies himself as "Cartwright." He's on paid leave while the investigation continues.

BART is operating a shuttle service between Pleasant Hill and Pittsburg/Bay Point stations due to the emergency track work.

The transit agency strongly recommends that riders access trains at the Pleasant Hill station if they are travelling into San Francisco or Oakland.

Passengers we spoke to at the Pleasant Hill Station were taking things in stride.

The big test for the bus bridge comes Monday when regular commuters join the crowds.


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