4:11 PM: BART service through the Transbay Tube resumed late this afternoon after an early morning three-alarm fire near the West Oakland station closed the tracks between the East Bay and San Francisco, a BART spokesman said.
Just before 4 p.m., the first train of the day was arriving at the West Oakland BART station from San Francisco, spokesman Jim Allison said.
Six or seven test trains successfully traveled along the tracks this afternoon, allowing limited service to resume for the evening commute, Allison said. The test trains did not carry passengers.
Trains will be traveling at slightly reduced speeds this evening, he said.
BART service is expected to be back to normal in time for the Friday morning commute, Allison said.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News
1:47 PM: BART service between the East Bay and San Francisco will resume later than originally estimated this afternoon, Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier told the transit agency’s board shortly after 12:30 p.m.
The Transbay Tube remains shut down because of a three-alarm fire that burned at a construction site near the West Oakland BART station early this morning.
BART had initially planned to begin single-tracking trains between San Francisco and Oakland early this afternoon and then reopen both tracks for the evening commute.
However, Oversier said, “We’ve changed our game plan because there’s a greater likelihood of having both tracks ready for the evening commute if both remain shut down for now, because single-tracking the trains interferes with the repair work.”
“Our goal is still to be open for the evening commute,” he said.
BART now hopes to resume transbay service by 4 p.m.
Oversier warned, however, that once transbay service starts up again, BART still won’t be able to operate at its normal level. He said he hopes to see it operate “at 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of capacity.”
“The biggest vulnerability is that one communication cable is pretty well fried,” Oversier said.
BART won’t know the extent of the problem until it restarts its electrical system at the West Oakland station and runs some tests, he said.
“We won’t fully understand the impact until we fire the system up,” Oversier told directors.
He said it appears the fiber network is in “good shape” but that also can’t be confirmed until tests are conducted.
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News