Richmond Train (Orang Line) Run Towards West Oakland
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?