BART trains running full-service again, delays linger

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Damage related to an early morning fire between BART’s Civic Center and Powell Street stations is still causing delays, but trains are now running full-service through San Francisco again, a BART spokesman said.

Spokesman Linton Johnson said Tuesday’s blaze, which occurred at about 8 a.m., was small and quickly extinguished, but sensors that track the trains through that portion of the tunnel were damaged.

The sensors allow trains to run automatically without getting too close to one another. Until the sensors are fixed, trains have to operate in manual mode between the Powell Street and 16th Street stations, which means they run at 25 mph or less, Johnson said.

Johnson said at about 4 p.m. the sensors were not yet fixed, and that crews would not be able to repair them until at least after the evening commute. He reported delays of 10 to 15 minutes.

“Because trains going from Powell to 16th Street/Mission stations still have to move at very slow speeds through the area affected by [Tuesday’s] fire, there’s still the potential that we may once again encounter a train traffic jam through the Transbay Tube,” Johnson wrote in an e-mail.

He added that it’s possible they will still have to stop some trains going from the East Bay to San Francisco. If that happens, BART will give priority to trains on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line, which ends at SFO.

“We encourage passengers to add 10 to 15 minutes onto their commute if they’re headed to stations in San Francisco or in the Peninsula,” he wrote.

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