BART seeking buyers for hundreds of old cars going out of service

David Louie Image
Thursday, January 10, 2019
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BART has over 600 train cars it's planning to put out of service over the next four years or so.

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- If you're enthusiastic recycler with a streak of nostalgia, BART may be looking for you. It has over 600 train cars it's planning to put out of service over the next four years or so. That's because of a new fleet of cars will be replacing them.

"I've spoken to people who have said they could be used as a hot rod, turned into a food truck," said Philip Kamhi.

Kamhi has an interesting job. He's in charge of helping BART dispose of 669 train cars. Legacy cars, they're called. Some were built starting in the late 1960s and put into service as BART started rolling in 1972. In this age of recycling, he's hoping they can be repurposed by others if they're willing to buy them.

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No fair market price has been determined and BART hasn't said how it will use the proceeds. However, the Federal Transit Administration will be getting a cut for providing BART with money to rehab most of the cars in 1998 and 2002.

"If the fleet is determined to have a value of over $5,000, the FTA is due to receive their percentage of proceeds," Kamhi said.

The FTA's share ranges from 55 to 70 percent.

Possible uses for these old cars include museums, food trucks and homeless shelters.

"There's a lot of nostalgia around this so I think that a lot of people who are really interested in them in the concept of seeing them reused," Kamhi said. "But we'll see what the real interest is when they come out to bid."

"Before you let your imagination go wild, one thing you won't see these old cars used for is multi-story housing. There won't be BART-ments, so to speak, because they're made of aluminum and can't be stacked one on top of another."

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Besides that, the cars are not insulated, and they don't have their own power, relying on a third rail to supply current.

Shiny new cars, called the Fleet of the Future, are starting to arrive to replace them, making the legacy cars orphans looking for life after BART.

Kamhi will outline his plans at Thursday morning's BART board of directors meeting in Oakland.