Traction motors on the 1st gen BART cars prior to rehabilitation

Does anyone know what the Direct Current (DC) motors were on the 1st generation BART cars before they were rehabbed?

I'm guessing Westinghouse (the same company that furnished the 1st ATC system for BART) model 1463 direct current traction motors.


boopiejones's picture

i think they were westinghouse 1468s.

but my memory is a bit cloudy. they may have been kinky-sharyu 126-B "neoforce" indirect current multipoint motors.

i have no freakin clue.

Westinghouse never built a 1468 motor.

Shrapnel's picture

Boopie loves his Kinky-Sharyu...

Westinghouse 1463 is correct for the DC traction motor. The 1463 is still in use on the 230 C cars.

The motors don't stay with the car they came with due to the need to regularly swap them for repair purposes. After car warranties had expired, when the entire fleet was using the 1463 interchangeably, no attempt was made to segregate the motors as far as which cars they were delivered in, A/B, C1 or C2. So, what is out there now is a somewhat random cross section of all the 1463s ever used at BART. Some of the motors currently in use are left over from the original pre rehab. A/B cars.

The physical age of the motor doesn't detract from it's reliability since components that do affect the reliability are replaced numerous times over the service life of the motor which can be indefinite.

When the A/B cars went to rehab., the 1463s that were retained from those cars as spares for continued use on C cars, were kept on the basis of how recently the armature had been rewound, not which car type they originated in.

Since the C2 cars were relatively new during the A/B rehab., not too many C2 motors had been repaired and subsequently installed on A/B cars, and there was effort made to retrieve them by serial number reducing the chance of any of them being discarded. However, any number of C1 car motors went to scrap during the A/B rehab.

Good to know.

Were the motors cam-controlled or chopper-controlled?

All of BART's DC propulsion has been Westinghouse chopper control. The 230 C cars use a newer version of it that is a significant improvement over the original A/B equipment in terms of circuit protection and diagnostics.

Chopper propulsion on transit cars in the U.S was largely the domain of Westinghouse, with Garrett Airesearch, BBC and Siemens providing lesser quantities. GE stayed with cam controllers after difficulties in Chicago where its experimental chopper caused interference with the ATC system.

Westinghouse choppers were used at: BART, WMATA Breda cars (of the first order of 94 Breda's, 76 had cam control like the original Rohrs, 18 had choppers to demonstrate the feasibility; subsequent Breda orders were chopper), Baltimore Metro, Miami Dade Metro, SEPTA on the Kawasaki LRV, Niagara Frontier/Buffalo LRV and MBTA/Boston Type 7 LRV, built by Kinki-Sharyo, Boopie's favorite ;-). Westinghouse choppers were also used on Rio and Sao Paulo, Brazil metros and trolleybuses in Vancouver, B.C.

Choppers came into being as a more efficient DC control method which also allowed the dynamic brakes to regenerate back into the supply. Although dynamic braking was available with cam controllers and the PCC car controllers for many years, regeneration back into the supply, although not impossible, was difficult to efficiently control electromechanically and was not used.

Choppers did not materially reduce the parts count like AC propulsion has. The BART choppers that remain in use still use electropneumatic and electromechanical switches to control forward/reverse, power/brake, and other functions so there are a considerable number of moving parts and contacts that have to be inspected and maintained not to mention the brushes in the traction motors.

The A/C propulsion on the A/B rehab cars is a significant improvement over DC choppers. There are almost no moving parts other than the two main electropneumatic line switches and one electromechanical contactor and obviously no motor brushes. It is much more reliable than chopper control and nearly maintenance free in comparison. It was built by Adtranz which was later bought by Bombardier. Adtranz in the U.S. was effectively the old Westinghouse Transportation Division which had earlier been sold to AEG who then teamed up with Daimler Benz to create Adtranz. Confused yet? I'll stop here so your head can stop spinning.

I used to live with this stuff on a daily basis. Now that I'm retired, it's fun to just be able to talk about it instead of constantly dealing with it.

So the Westinghouse 1463 motors with the chopper controls that were used by BART make a buzzing sound like the WMATA MetroRail Breda 3000 (prior to rehab) and 4000 series cars with the Westinghouse 1462 motors with chopper controls?

It's the nearly same equipment with minor differences. The buzzing sound comes from the motor reactor that is an integral part of the chopper system.

The WMATA cars are heavier than the BART cars so the chopper equipment has a higher current rating. The 1462 traction motor at WMATA also has a higher horsepower rating than the 1463 at BART.

The 1462 is also used at Baltimore, Miami and in Brazil. The 1463 is also used at Buffalo and on the Boston Type 7 LRV. The 1460(lower rating than the 1463)is used at SEPTA on the Kawasaki LRV, and PATH in N.J.

The Westinghouse numbering scheme for traction motors uses the last two numbers of the year the motor was designed as the last two digits so the number on the motor doesn't correspond to its relative size. This numbering scheme began in 1925 with the 1425 which was a new departure in traction motor design. The 14xx series of motors was smaller, lighter and had a maximum armature speed that was about twice that of previous motors.

Other widely used 14xx motors were the 1432 used on Westinghouse equipped PCC cars and many since retired Chicago rapid transit cars, the 1447 used in New York City (at one time there were 14,000 of these), and the 1454 once used at Boston and SEPTA.

There were many others that were of lesser quantities. More famous to railfans were the 1433 used on the Brilliners and 1949 St. Louis cars on the Red Arrow in Phila. as well as the North Shore Electroliners. The 1461 was used on the PRR/Amtrak Westinghouse equipped Metroliners (GE also equipped Metroliners).

The 1463 was the last of its kind and there are still well over 1000 total in service at the three transit properties using them including BART.


Were any other BART car systems (other than the DC traction motors and the ATC system) built by Westinghouse?

Westinghouse (WH) provided all of the under car equipment on the original A/B car as delivered by Rohr.

Not every piece of equipment was manufactured by them but they did all the engineering, packaging and integration with the car.

The auxiliary power was based on a motor-alternator (MA) set that was made by Safety Electric. Its control panels were mounted in an "aux box" made by WH. The aux box also contained all of the motor starters and circuit breakers for the auxiliary motors, the controls for the HVAC and the battery charger.

The HVAC system was provided by WH subsidiary ThermoKing. The refrigerant compressor for the AC system was clutched off the shaft of the MA set.

The friction brake system was made by Hurst-Airheart but WH built some of their own hydraulic pump units (HPU). The electronic controls for the friction brakes were part of the propulsion logic cradle that was mounted in the WH chopper semiconductor box.

The air compressor was a Le Roi that was packaged by WH. The air suspension was WH.

I was kind of sorry to see all that stuff go off to the scrap dealer during the A/B rehab after seeing it nearly every day for 20 years, but the new equipment is indeed better.

Thank you so much.

There's some good stories from the early days at BART when Rohr was delivering the A/B cars. I heard them after I started working at BART in 1982 from people who were still around from the beginning.

There originally was no clutch between the MA set and the AC compressor. It was assumed that the solenoids that unloaded the compressor when cooling wasn't required would be sufficient. Then a car was reported as having a loud banging and vibration from the area of the MA set. The AC compressor had siezed, broken its mounts and was spinning on the MA shaft. The clutch was incorporated into the design soon after that.

Sometimes a car would be unloaded from the flatbed truck it arrived on from Rohr in Chula Vista, CA, be pushed onto the third rail and within a few minutes, the dynamic brake resistors would be glowing cherry red. The power cables under the car were hooked up wrong so that the collector shoes were connected directly to the resistor bank.

BART sent an engineer to Chula Vista with a letter to tell Rohr not to ship any more cars due to some dispute. The letter was handed to the plant manager who was in the middle of having a car loaded on the flatbed truck to ship to the BART Hayward shop. The manager finished reading the letter as he continued to motion the truck driver to continue backing up into the plant. He apparently was going to continue shipping cars no matter what.

I have a lot of my own stories including one about glowing cherry red resistors and lots of others that I'll probably tell where there's a relevant subject.

Good to know.

Any idea what the main repair/overhaul shop is on the BART system?

The main shop is Hayward. This is where all the components that are removed from the cars are sent for repair like wheel/axle assemblies, HVAC units, air compressors, brake equipment, ATC equipment, etc. There is electromechanical or Component Repair and also the Electronic Repair Shop.

Hayward also does running repair.

rafa1215's picture

Can any of these motors be used in electric cars like the prius or even the Ford F150? Are they DC motors?

The motors are too heavy for cars and trucks. The 1463, a DC motor, weighs about 1200 pounds. It has a continuous rating of about 140 horsepower but has a maximum output in dynamic braking of well over 500 hp.

It would be overkill in a passenger vehicle.

Electric motors are given a continuous rating based on temperature rise which determines the life of the insulation. The short duration peak output can be many times the continuous rating as is the case with traction motors.

Current state of the art for electric passenger vehicles is to use an AC induction motor and an inverter rather than DC technology. The BART rehabbed A/B cars use this technology but the motor is still heavy at around 900 pounds for the 1507 AC traction motor. The 1507 horsepower rating is similar to the 1463.

rafa1215's picture

Great reply. You must of been a mechanic of some kind or an engineer?

I was what BART calls a vehicle systems engineer for almost 24 years.

What's the inverter type on the ADTranz/Bombardier 1507C traction motors?

It's an IGBT inverter. There's two per car, one for each truck's pair of motors.

Thanks for the info.

Did the Westinghouse equipment (the Auxiliary Power Box, the Automatic Train Control [ATC] system, the model 1463 Direct Current traction motors, the chopper controls, the brake controls, the airbag suspension, the hydraulic pumps for the brakes) have the Circle W logo on them?

Yeah, the circle W tags were all over that stuff, except the traction motors had a tag marked "Westinghouse D.C. Transportation Motor".

The markings (riveted metal tags) were more than just to let you know who built it. There was also the part number which was also the drawing number and a "sub" level that indicated which modifications had been incorporated during production.

The C1 car equipment also had a lot of circle W tags.

By the time the C2 cars came along, a lot of the Westinghouse equipment was marked "AEG Transportation Systems".

Even though Westinghouse had completely divested itself of the Transportation Division by the time the A/B rehab cars started to come back in 1998, there are still some motor starters for the hydraulic pumps and the blower in the Auxiliary Power Supply Equipment (APSE) that have the circle W on them. The motor starters were bought by Adtranz (later Bombardier) from the Westinghouse industrial control division. The same starters were used on the original A/B car aux. box and in the C1 air compressor and HVAC units. That line of motor starters was later sold to Cutler Hammer.

I'm still here. Ask away.

Aside from BART, the 1463 was used in Boston and Buffalo so I'm assuming you are working on one of those systems. Similar WH systems use the 1460 at SEPTA and the 1462 at WMATA, Baltimore and Miami. I was at Westinghouse in the early 80's when most of that equipment, except for Boston and BART, was being built and tested.

Your first source of info would be Bombardier in Pittsburgh, PA which owns all the rights to that equipment now. There have been some good people there over the years and for your sake I hope a few of them are still there so you can work with some of them if you need to. Don't expect a whole lot more than a phone call or two for free though, and rightfully so.

There are some good people at BART who can possibly be of help to you, too. The BART maintenance manuals for this equipment are very good. I didn't take any of that information with me other than in my head. That could have been construed as intellectual property theft and I left on good terms.

As far as static tests, the BART equipment has a built in static self test which exercises all the switches and relays. It doesn't perform any high voltage tests although there is a way to do this in a shop environment that we used at BART. Some of the equipment versions at other transit systems may not have this capability. If not, and the equipment is being overhauled and upgraded in kind, it may well be worth somebody's time to pursue upgrading the propulsion logic to a more recent version.

The BART equipment also has excellent fault logging capabilities which turn the aggravation of highly intermittent failures into much less of a nightmare than having no idea why the car continues to be reported as failed in service when nothing is found in the shop. At least you can make an educated guess at what is wrong with it rather than sending it back out as "could not duplicate" or CND.

As far as getting in touch with me, probably the best way is to email the admin here at their address at the very bottom of the page and ask them if you can have my email address which they require when you create an account. Reference this thread/post and the fact that I'm authorizing them to give you my address. I've never set up any instant messaging or Facebook accounts so that won't work. If that doesn't work one of us can create a gmail or hotmail account and post the addy here.

I've been retired for nearly four years and haven't actively been looking for work. But the equipment we are discussing was a part of my daily life for over 25 years counting the few years I worked at WH before going to BART so if I can help somebody get some additional useful years out of it somewhere, I'd be glad to help.

I'm a little surprised that anyone is retaining DC propulsion at this late date having personally seen how much more reliable the AC propulsion ultimately became at BART on the A/B rehab.

The DC stuff has a certain charm from a historical perspective but when you are involved in maintaining it on a daily basis it is a little less charming. There are way too many moving, wearing parts that can fail in between scheduled inspection and maintenance intervals.

However, if there is a limited car overhaul budget precluding conversion to AC, the WH DC equipment we are discussing was designed to have an indefinite service life with proper maintenance as long as parts are readily available.

I no longer live in California but I do visit the Bay Area periodically so I'll keep you in mind on the next trip. In the meantime we can email and talk on the phone. I'm a lifelong student of the history of electric traction technology so even though I had my fill of working with that stuff during my career, I still find it interesting and enjoy discussing it.

I've got nothing to hide as far as my identity so I'd put my email address up here but then the spambots just glom onto it and we all know how that works. We'll figure it out.

eastbayman's picture

if you go to your My account under personal information, you can add your email address so others can see it.

boopiejones's picture

i can see both your email addresses since i am a moderator. if you give me the approval, i will email virgo18 with your email address.

You have my approval to give virgo18 my email address. Thanks.

boopiejones's picture

i sent virgo18 an email.


I'm trying to avoid any public access to my email address. There have been regular spammers that register here and spam. They would also be able to get my address.

Last summer, this place got downright ugly during BART union contract negotiations. Someone or a small group of people became very belligerent and disruptive. Being that I offered my well informed opinion on the situation, I'm sure my inbox would have been graced with hatemail from those of opposing viewpoints had they had access to my email.

My life is simple and the less garbage or harassment I get in my email, the better.

I am researching the Budd Metroliners. I noticed that you knew which motors they used (1461) on the Westinghouse-equipped units. I know this is a bit off-topic here, but, can you elaborate on this?

David in Germany

RE: Budd Metroliner traction motors. I sent an email to what looked like a valid address for you after googling your name. If you didn't get it, I can refer you to someone who could tell you a lot about the inner workings of the Westinghouse equipment on the Metroliners but I don't want to do that on this site. Maybe we can get in touch some way other than through here.

Former Employee.

For years I have been doing research on Westinghouse traction motors and propulsion equipment. I had some questions regarding Westinghouse traction equipment used on foreign rapid transit cars and on the Walt Disney Monorail cars. Is there a way to contact you personally? thanks in advance.

You can make a throwaway email address put that address in a reply here. I'll send an email to it and then you'll have my address. That keeps the spammers from getting your real address. Or you could contact the admin here and ask them to give you my email address. Just refer to this post giving them authorization to give it to you. I did it this way once before some years ago when someone wanted to get in touch with me.

Former Employee

You can me an email to: rm2cyd3f (at) Thanks.

Thanks for posting this great history, Former Employee. Excellent stuff.
I think it's an important part of local and US industrial development.

The BART/Westinghouse propulsion system spawned another line of development.

Engineers at FMC in Santa Clara (Food-Machinery-Chemicals) applied it to wheeled utility vehicles including street sweepers and tracked armored combat vehicles. M113 armored personnel carrier prototypes were first delivered to the US Army in 1970.

More importantly, it spun into several lines of electric traction drives and high-voltage traction inverters.

The technology was most recently used in the "HybriDrive" transit powertrain products from BAE Systems. The remnants of FMC were purchased by BAE in 2005. see
It should not be overlooked that some key Tesla Motors engineers worked at FMC, UDLP, and BAE.
Transit buses are run today by VTA in Santa Clara, the San Francisco MUNI, and Alameda County AC Transit Gillig use BAE series electric drive propulsion systems. Many more of these buses are in service in New York City, Toronto, Seattle, London, and others.

This has been a long time in the works. A long focused development by several generations of engineers. It's good to see the line bearing fruit.