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BART’s new train cars fail regulatory test, possibly delaying rollout

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BART’s new “Fleet of the Future” was initially expected to roll out in September. (Courtesy BART)
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BART’s new rail cars failed a vital inspection Friday, according to the California Public Utilities Commission, and the regulator barred BART’s new fleet from running until the problem is fixed.

During a test run Friday, a 10-car train from BART’s “Fleet of the Future” failed to open its doors on seven of its cars, and the operator “lost control of the passenger doors,” according to a letter sent to BART on Monday from the CPUC, which regulates new transit vehicles in California.

SEE RELATED: BART shows off new ‘Fleet of the Future’ car

“BART is denied permission to operate the new cars in revenue service until the aforementioned issue and all issues have been corrected and an additional ride check is conducted by CPUC staff,” wrote Elizaveta Malashenko, rector of CPUC’s safety and enforcement division.

That leaves BART’s proposed Thanksgiving rollout of its “Fleet of the Future” an open question, BART spokesperson Jim Allison confirmed.

Allison said technical staff from train-manufacturer Bombardier and BART are “working cooperatively and on a priority basis” to identify the root cause of the problem.

“That analysis must be completed and the repair identified before we can assess the impact, if any, on the planned operation of the cars in passenger service around Thanksgiving,” he said.

Allison said the doors did not open because “the train automatically went into a safe-mode in which the control car indicated that it was operating as a three-car train, locking the doors to the trailing seven cars.”

The train acted in a fail-safe manner as intended, he said.

BART’s “Fleet of the Future” was originally slated to hit the tracks by the end of September, but was delayed to the end of fall.

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