BART inspecting all tracks due to posible manufacturing defects

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BART is now inspecting all of its relatively new tracks that came from a batch installed four years ago. It's the fallout from last week's broken track that caused major headaches for BART riders. (KGO-TV)

BART is now inspecting all of its relatively new tracks that came from a batch installed four years ago. It's the fallout from last week's broken track that caused major headaches for BART riders.

Last week's tear in a section of track at the Montgomery BART station was small, about the size of a dollar, but the system-wide inconvenience was huge.

Now the Transit District has learned that the defect may have been created by the manufacturer and not from prior welding done by BART employees.

"The initial word from the independent lab is that there is an anomaly in the manufacture of the rail. It sounds like there may have been some hydrogen bubbles at the surface of the rail," BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said.

To make sure there is no more defective rail from the same 2011 batch in the system, BART is using inspection techniques that are considered state-of-the-art, including ultrasonic testing.

"I don't think we should be scared, but I think we should be concerned," Berkeley Engineering and Research Chief Engineer Glen Stevick said.

He believes the fix could be simple, but expensive.

"A lot of flaws can be ground out and re-welded, ground smooth and they'll be fine. If it's extensive, yes, you'll have to replace a section. It really depends on the nature of the defect, how widespread and how large they are," Stevick said.

While the disruption from last week's emergency track repair was huge, BART claims it presented little danger to riders, given the technology built into the system.

The inspections should be completed this weekend. The process of repairing or replacing any suspect track could take much longer.

Related Topics:
trafficBARTcommutingcivic centertraffictrainstransportationinvestigationmanufacturingSan FranciscoWalnut Creek
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