BART train immobilized in Transbay Tube

February 6, 2009 10:09:39 PM PST
BART service through the Transbay Tube is back to normal, but service was disrupted for hours on Friday after a train had to make an emergency stop because of something on the tracks and passengers had to be rescued.

The Embarcadero Station was jammed after service was shut down. The problem started shortly after 1 p.m. on Friday, when a two by three foot panel fell off a Bay Area Rapid Transit train headed to Richmond through the Transbay Tube. Another train that left Embarcadero Station to inspect the debris ended up hitting it.

"We were going fairly slow, 40 miles an hour; there was a thud about one quarter mile out into the tube," passenger Kurt Bomke said.

"They told us there was a piece of metal on the track and we'd be evacuated to another train; we were sitting there for about 40 minutes," passenger Charlotte Roberts said.

With the train stopped in the tube, BART had to bring in a rescue train from Embarcadero Station. It coupled up with the stopped train and stranded passengers walked from one to the other and were brought back to Embarcadero Station.

The incident led to a 45 minute delay of service.

"It wasn't like an emergency, it was an inconvenience," BART rider Sam Woodruff said.

The train that hit the debris was taken to the Concord BART yard for inspection.

This is the latest in a series of incidents that have plagued BART in the past few months.

In October a BART worker was killed when he was hit from behind while inspecting the tracks, Oscar Grant was shot and killed by BART police, and earlier this week, two BART trains collided approaching the 12th Street Station.

"Sometimes we have six to seven months where nothing is going on then we get hit; it's like being on the phone, no one calls you for a while, then suddenly everyone starts to call you. I think that's what's happening right now," BART spokesperson Linton Johnson said.

BART says there was never a safety issue, however, the inspection and investigation continues.