SAN FRANCISCO — About 200 passengers were trapped on a disabled BART train in the Transbay Tube for about two hours on Friday, leading to major delays in San Francisco during the morning ride.
The train has since arrived at West Oakland station at about 9:15 a.m.
According to BART spokesman Jim Allison, the problem started at 7:11 a.m. when a substation that provided electricity for the trains in the Tube went offline.
“We are making progress in diagnosing the problem,” Allison said in a voicemail update at 9:45 am. “The substation that failed actually followed a fail-safe procedure. There could be a problem in the Transbay conduit and the connections that provide the electrical connection to the trains.”
The power issues in the Tube have forced the system to juggle its normal schedule.
“Red line service has been temporarily cancelled,” transit officials tweeted at 9:30 a.m. “Green Line trains that normally pass through the Metro are instead being diverted to MacArthur. Yellow and Blue Line trains are singletracking through the Metro. Orange Line operates on its normal schedule .”
A shuttle train was also built between SFO and Millbrae station.
BART officials issued a warning to commuters at 7.30am about problems on the line
“There is a major delay between Embarcadero and West Oakland in the San Francisco and East Bay directions due to an equipment problem at the track,” the agency writes. “There is currently limited train service due to trains only followed by the Transbay Tube. Please look for alternative modes of transport.”
BART officials said equipment failures have caused “power-related problems in the pipe.” In the middle of it sat a shuttle train, stranded in the tube under San Francisco Bay.
“I have been informed that there is a disabled train in the tube. It is on the disabled rail,” a BART spokesperson emailed KPIX. “There are about 200 people on board. We have another train on the way to move it and get those passengers on board safely.”
Bus bridges have been built. Officials advised commuters to seek alternative modes of transportation using AC Transit buses. At Ashby Station this is the F-bus, at Fruitvale Station the O-bus and at 19th St. Station the NL-bus.
San Francisco Muni also provided mutual aid between Embarcadero and Daly City stations.
While there was no immediate report on whether the problem is the same, the advice brought back memories for passengers of the misery the system had suffered on Sunday.
The problems started around 10:20 a.m. on Sunday when BART officials tweeted to warn passengers of a 20-minute delay in trains due to an equipment problem. From then on, conditions deteriorated.
“BART service has been shut down in the Transbay Tube due to multiple due to multiple disabled trains between Embarcadero and Lake Merritt,” officials tweeted just after 11 a.m. “Seek alternative modes of transportation until further notice.”
At around 11:30 a.m., officials tweeted that the disabled train was being moved near West Oakland. Maintenance crews have responded to the trackside problem in that area, which was related to “cover plates” – the equipment that covers the third rail – on the track.
Moments later, however, the situation got even worse.
“We have 2 trains on the Oakland side that won’t run,” BART officials tweeted. “One train is near West Oakland and one near 12th St. Crews are on site and solving problems. Trains are returning for the tube on both sides of the bay.”
Passengers were removed from those trains.
“If we have a disabled train, we first secure the drivers on another train and take them to the nearest station. That has now happened for both trains.”
Shortly after noon, BART officials said one of the disabled trains had been cleared and service was being restored.