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July 1986 - Page 40

By Frank Marino

B ART General Manager Keith Bernard has warned that some projects may have to be reduced or delayed. Another problem is that both the legisla tive analyst, the legislature's fiscal watch dog, and Assemblyman Elihu Harris have proposed diverting sales tax money from BART to bail out AC Transit, the Oak land-based bus system that was subsidized primarily by property taxes until Proposi tion 13 passed in 1 978. The analyst did say, however, that BART had been fiscally responsible and that taking tax funds from the rail system and giving it to the bus district would be punishing BART for being successful.
Prototype C Cars

off the end of the track at Daly City. Although the incident occurred after the system had shut down around 1 :00 a.m., the derailed car blocked one of the main tracks. Then at 7:35 a.m., in the height of the rush, the wayside train control went out on a section of the Concord line. Manual operation, restricted to 25 miles an hour, was imposed on six miles of the line until 8:45 a.m. Making matters worse, BART's elected directors weren't told by the district staff about the problems and learned about the mishaps from inquiring newspaper reporters.

A new central control system that is essen tial to BART's expansion plans has fallen at least a year behind schedule because a British firm has not produced acceptable computer software. BART uses a central computer to super vise train operations, but all safety features are in a separate wayside train control system that cannot be overridden by the computer. Because the present computer, installed 1 5 years ago, can only handle about 45 trains at once and uses obsolete technology and computer language, BART is spending $32 million on new computers, software and linkages between the wayside equip ment and Central Control, where train dis patchers work. The new system is to be capable of running 75 trains at once. Logica Inc. and BART engineers have been struggling with the software but report little progress. The situation has created a political problem. BART Pres ident Nello Bianco has questioned whether Logica and BART have enough competent people in charge and suggested that BART manager Bernard consider shifting person nel and hiring a "top-flight" engineer. Meanwhile, the two-mile KE track be tween MacArthur Station and the Wash ington St. subway portal opened to traffic on March 17, with Concord-Daly City trains using the new line during the morn ing rush and Daly City-Concord trains on the tracks in the afternoon. Except for a balky switch machine, which spoiled the inaugural afternoon, the track through downtown Oakland has worked well. It permits separation of Con cord line trains from Richmond-Fremont operations through the 1 2th St. and 1 9th St. subway stations. The project also in cludes storage tracks for several trains, space that BART has long needed. Fares were increased by an average of 30% on January 1, causing ridership to slump. Weekday patronage that, on occa sion, has passed 220,000, now was running under 200,000 some days, with BART offi cials blaming both the fare increase and a rapid drop in gasoline prices. The ridership loss and an unexpected dip in state sales tax revenues because the Bay Area's economic growth has slowed have reduced revenues below expectations.
40 JULY 1 986

A s this is written, four prototype C cars are being prepared for public display and then about six weeks of revenue operation. These carry Nos. 30 1-304, but they are defective and have been rejected by BART. The French-owned builder, Alsthom Atlantique, has agreed to junk the bodies of 30 1-304 and build four new shells with the same numbers. The equipment from proto types 301 -304 will be installed in the shells of production cars 301 -304. The air-conditioning units on the four prototypes were rejected by BART and a modified system has been installed in the shell of production 302, which was to be tested in April or May in the Budd Co. cli mate laboratory in Philadelphia. BART also has rejected the prototype body shells because of distortions in the aluminum sides and panels. The district has not announced a date for receipt of the remaining 146 production cars, which will cost about $ 1 .6 million each, making them among the most expen sive in the world.
Arson Blamed

By Jim Seal

The fire that damaged the interior of a car at Richmond Yard on December 28 (see February PRN) now has been labeled ap parent arson by BART safety officer, Ralph Weule. Previously, Richmond fire officials had determined that an electrical circuit in the door-opening mechanism had shorted and started the blaze, which caused $ 1 25,000 in damage. Weule said laboratory tests detected a considerable amount of flammable lubricating oil on the seat cush ions where the fire began; also a can of the same oil was found outside the car. The California Public Utilities Commis sion has given BART another extension of time to remove flammable walls, floors and ceilings from its 440 cars. All cars were originally to be completed in July 1 985 but the PUC gave BART until October 1 986 to complete the safety work.
Operating Glitches

T he first major construction work on the Long Beach light rail project began in April, when crews began dismantling the 850-foot-long former PE bridge over the Los Angeles River, near the site for the shops and yard, in North Long Beach. The single-track bridge replaced an older double-track structure in 1 956. Sometime in May the L .A. County Transportation Commission will contract construction for a new, double-track bridge to meet current seismic standards. Other construction is proceeding with removal of the ex-SP single-track freight line from the vicinity of the shop site southward to Willow St. (end of private right-of-way). Elsewhere on the corridor, freight tracks will be relocated by Southern Pacific, and temporary track detours will be used in segments so as not to interrupt existing freight traffic on the jointly used right-of-way during the construction phase. The LACTC will contract later this year for mid-corridor light rail trackwork.
Locating Utilities

T he first phase of "potholing" along the corridor of the Long Beach route from Willow St. along the right-of-way to Wash ington Blvd. and Flower St. has been com pleted. In this process a crew explored to a depth of about five feet to locate and verify underground utility lines so that agree ments can be reached with utility owners for permanent relocation.
Track Design Relocation

Morning commuter service was snagged March 12 by two incidents. First, a train being switched onto a stor age spur, and being operated manually, ran

Light rail line tracks on Flower St . in Los Angeles have been relocated from the center of the street to the east side in plans to accommodate the city's one-way couplet (Flower St. south, Figueroa Sr. north).

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