Richmond Train (Orang Line) Run Towards West Oakland

Hello everyone.

I hope you're all doing well. This is my first time posting, but I have lurked around off and on for a while.

I generally support BART and look up to it as a civil, efficient, and trustworthy transit system. However, what happened yesterday is something that I consider ridiculous.

I was coming home from Hayward via the Richmond line. I knew there would be delays when I went to transfer in Downtown, but was expecting a smooth trip until that point. Well...I was wrong.

After leaving Lake Merritt, our operator announced we were still a Richmond train but would be taking "a brief...detour". We crept through the Oakland Wye and then made a turnoff toward West Oakland and stopped just after leaving the subway area. Our operator opened his cab door and walked through to the other end of the train.

As he was doing this, a woman (I presume from BART Central) came on the PA and explained that "to maintain the safety of the equipment, we need to change the orientation of the trains periodically". I call BS for two reasons:

1. It's not as though BART has turn-around loops at Pittsburg, Milbrae, Daly City, SFO, Richmond, Fremont, and Dublin. So far as I know, NONE of those places have turn-around loops, and the trains are run back and forth in opposite directions all day (hence the cab cars on both ends).

2. Even if they DID have a crapton of loops I don't know about and manage to run the trains facing one direction all day, I frankly can't come up with any reason that this would jeopardize the safety of the trains. I'm a railfan and don't know of any wear that happens specifically from running trains in one direction. Amtrak does it all the time, and you don't hear about their trains falling apart.

My theory is that they had an issue in the Oakland Wye with the turnoff between Lake Merritt and 12th Street, and rather than admit that, someone decided that they would lie about running a routine maintenance operation. I hate thinking that BART was dishonest but that's all I can come up with. Any thoughts? Is there seriously some safety issue that causes trains to have to be turned in the middle of their routes that I didn't know about?

Train Operator since 2003's picture

Whelp lets see... commenting on the contract by people who don't know anything about it is a waste of anybody's time. you may as well discuss nurse's contracts, garbage worker's, plumber's or maybe professional sports while you're at it. In all of these cases if your opinion was either educated or mattered, you would have been in the negotiations of it.

I can't on the other hand disagree with your 12+ years of experience so you are spot on in my opinion and I agree with you, except...

Because of wear on the wheel flanges and the few derails of recent times, the policy is to "Turn the fleet" at designated times during the year. You don't usually hear about it from the SF airport serviced trains because Central uses the airport as part of a three point turn. The Richmond to Fremont line has no such luxury so hence the U turn at the first crossover switch towards West Oak as what you experienced. The turning of the fleet usually involves one line per day during the week.


Train Operator since 2003's picture

I see you have embraced both ignorance and irrelevance and as a bonus going for the triple down with challenging whether or not I care "TFB".

I don't, but by all means if it gives you joy.

Anyone , anywhere (in this grand country )...has a right to say what ever,uninformed ignorant and personal feeling laced thing they want(or otherwise).
Welcome to America.;)

CQC7b (great knife by the way, love em) hates BART and has never made it seem other wise.

He/she/they is consistent in his/her/their loathing for the system and all aspects of it.

This leads me to question WHY he/she/they still ride the system they hate so much BUT...that is the subject for another thread...if we can find it between the mass spammed threads ;)

OP, I did some asking around the system and the process TO described of train rotation seems to be the exact reason why the particular train you described...did what it did.

I have been riding this system for 35 of my 40 years(maybe more...memory gets a tad fuzzy before 5 years), some years more than others, through peaks and valleys of "good times" and "bad" and the system NEEDs a "redo" of all it's tracks,cars and stations, but until then...we will see "odd" little quirks happen like this one.