BART will temporarily stop accepting delivery of new Fleet of the Future (FOTF) rail cars beginning January 8, 2021 to allow the manufacturer, Bombardier Transportation, the time to take steps to improve the cars’ reliability and availability, and to alleviate rail car storage constraints at BART’s maintenance yards.
One of the issues to be resolved is related to software in the on-board automatic train control system. The new cars routinely stop while in service and will not move until after the Train Operator reboots the system, resulting in a five-to-ten-minute delay.
In addition, when trains are stopping under wet or rainy conditions, the cars’ wheels can develop flat spots. When this occurs, the cars need to be removed from service so that the wheels can be resurfaced.
While neither issue impacts the safety of existing FOTF cars currently in service, they can impact service reliability and car availability.
BART is expected to have 290 FOTF cars by January 8th and, combined with 618 legacy cars, BART will be required to retire legacy cars to create room for additional FOTF cars. Given the pause in delivery of new cars, which is expected to last a minimum of twelve weeks, BART will decommission legacy cars at a slower rate.
BART is committed to supporting Bombardier Transportation as they work to address issues that impact the reliability and availability of the FOTF, and to implement pragmatic solutions that will provide the highest levels of performance for the new cars.