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BART Gets Green Light To Use New Passenger Cars

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- After several delays, BART officials were given the green light late Wednesday night by the state Public Utilities Commission to put 10 new passengers cars into service.

In a letter to BART General Manager Grace Crunican, Director of the PUC's Safety and Enforcement Division Elizaveta Malashenko offered her "congratulations on achieving this milestone."

"Please consider this letter an approval to operate the new 10-car consist in revenue service," Malashenko wrote.

BART had planned to have the new cars in service by late last year, but a test run on Nov. 3 with PUC inspectors onboard ran into problems when the train's doors would not open at the Bay Fair station.

Over the ensuing weeks, BART technicians worked out a fix with the cars' Canadian manufacturer Bombardier.

Last week, a second test run with inspectors onboard was conducted. There was a slight glitch -- the doors initially failed to open at the downtown Berkeley station until the train was moved slightly.

But the inspectors still gave the cars a green light to be put into service.

New BART Car Hayward
New "Fleet of the Future" BART car being shown in Hayward. (CBS)

The letter pointed out two concerns that BART technicians still need to address in the new cars -- correcting the chime sounding over the start of the emergency announcement over Public Address system and resolving an issue with the driver's cab window.

BART commuters will not see the cars spread out among several trains in the system. BART spokesman Jim Allison said the new cars will not connect with the old passenger trains.

"The new cars can only work with new cars," Allison said. "You will not be seeing trains that are half old cars and half new cars."

Once the new 10 cars are in use, officials will focus on getting the next 10 cars ready for service.

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