BART Begins Traction Power Substation Upgrade Works

San Leandro station is the first on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) network to get a new traction power substation. 

Train at BART San Leandro station
Train at San Leandro station © Pi. 1415926535 under licence

In November 2016 Californians voted in favour of Measure RR. The question put to voters was:

“To keep BART safe; prevent accidents/breakdowns/delays; relieve overcrowding; reduce traffic congestion/pollution; improve earthquake safety and access for seniors/disabled by replacing and upgrading 90 miles of severely worn tracks; tunnels damaged by water intrusion; 44-year-old train control systems; and other deteriorating infrastructure, shall the Bay Area Rapid Transit District issue $3.5 billion of bonds for acquisition or improvement of real property subject to independent oversight and annual audits?”

With 70.5 percent of voters casting a ‘yes’ ballot, BART has 3.5 billion USD that it is now investing in infrastructure upgrades across the network.

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Measure RR BART Infrastructure Upgrade Works

Trains need to be able to rely on a steady source of traction power. With the Bay Area Rapid Transit system being more than 40 years old, upgrades to the traction power substations have become necessary.

San Leandro is the first station of the network to get a new substation. A flatbed tractor trailer delivered a 46,000-pound transformer and two DC switchgear houses, which weighed 42,000 and 59,000 pounds.

BART says these new substations should be operational by November. In addition to replacing existing traction power substations, BART will also install two new ones in downtown San Francisco. This will allow BART to run more trains. BART is also installing a new train control system and adding more Bombardier Fleet of the Future cars to this end.

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What Are Traction Power Substations?

Traction power substations convert electricity from the grid to the appropriate voltage to supply the transit system. BART trains use 1000V DC electricity.

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