New BART trains weigh more than originally contracted for

By the end of this year, BART plans to have at least 60 of the 775 new trains in service. But as the new cars come off the production line, BART says an empty train car will weigh more than originally contracted for. 

Since learning the news, BART says it’s been working with its manufacturer, Bombardier, to work on reducing the empty car weight. 

BART says when the trains are rolled out as scheduled later this year, the agency is confident that when fully loaded, the cars will weigh less than the original contract with Bombardier and less than the cars running in the system today. 

The cars have already had a string of problems in the past, from the builder asking for a government bailout, to a test car running of the tracks.

Bob Bea is an engineer and Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley; he's studied the system for decades.  He says one of his concerns is with how BART calculates the weight. 

Bea says the agency bases the weight system on each rider weighing 150 pounds. Bea says although his true concern isn't the weight of the car itself, but the weight of the structures the cars will ride on.

"The cars are actually part of the demand imposed on the system. But the real concern is focused on the capacity their building on the system, in this case aerial structures to support this weight," says Bea. 

BART is using an on-call engineering firm to inspect 30 aerial structures beginning in March. 
However, Bea says the agency is required to due to risk assessment.