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Re: Bombardier BART cars

Posted by Jackson Park B Train on Sat Dec 30 01:39:29 2017, in response to Re: Bombardier BART cars, posted by Henry R32 #3730 on Sat Dec 30 00:57:17 2017.

well, those are questions freighted w/ ugly subtexts. The following is what we call circumstantial evidence. When BART was in the design stage a consortium was formed to be the managing/engineering agent for the appointed BOD. The consortium included Parsons, Brinckerhoff the lineal corporate descendent of the Parsons firm which designed the IRT, and Bechtel (an SF based very politically connected world wide engineering/construction firm whose pedigree over the years inclueded Casper Weinberger and George Schultz). S D Bechtel SR was Chairman of the BOD of Southern Pacific Co--the holding co for the SP RR, and S D Jr was a director in the period when BART was being planned.
Southern Pacific was by then very anti-passenger, having decided there was no profitable future wheher LD or commuter. SP wanted to get rid of what we now call Caltrain and were very clear they did not want BART to take it over. (SP had also paid the Stanford Research Institue to do a study of passenger losses to buttress their position)
SP's next step was the notoious downgrading of services on the trains--an automat car as the cafe car on extra fare Golden State and Sunset Ltds, withdrawing diners, cutting back sleepers. SP's behavior got the attention of the ICC who forced them to briefly reinstate some services. (As an historical note, SP made efforts to sabotage Amtrak both by deliberately sending out a drag freight just ahead of the Coast Starlight, and by banning dome cars as too tall for the tunnels in Donner Pass which had easily passed through in the 50s when detouring around the blocked Feather River Canyon.)

So, SP had a direct BOD to BOD connection to Bechtel who was part of the design/management consortium, SP did not want any involvement with BART's routes/services, and BART was designed to be physically incompatible.
FWIW, I had conversations w/ BART's head PR guy decades ago about the need for the broad guage. He maintained both then and again recently when touring his memoirs, that the winds in the SF Bay Area required broad guage. When I pointed out that CTA had achieved what was then the US rapid transit speed record w/PCC based cars in the "Windy City" he claimed that name for Chicago related to politics, not actual weather. (Having lived there and in the Bay Area, I know better.)
BART spent (wasted IMHO) a great deal of time and effort trying to pretend it was not going to be a "subway" (and certainly not like the dirty NYC syustem) Thus we got the "Buck Rogers" wedge front cars, carpets, cars delivered w/o hand grabs because everyone would have a seat as trains would arrive every 90 seconds courtesy of space age computer control. In fact, they have never been able to run trains as frequently as CTA or NYCTA did in the 50s, and after decades, the often sodden and smelly carpets are gone.

The new Bombardier cars will have more doors so as to decrease dwell.


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